From tooth fossils to drug resistant TB

  • January 27, 2014
From tooth fossils to drug resistant TB

This week's internal symposium explores the pros and cons of hydrogen fuel cells, reconstructing ancient diets through teeth fossils, making old buildings energy efficient and drug resistant TB.

The pros and cons of hydrogen fuel cells, reconstructing ancient diets through teeth fossils, making old buildings energy efficient and drug resistant TB are the subjects of this week’s Gates Cambridge internal symposium.

The symposium offers Scholars the chance to present their research to their peers. It takes place from 7-9pm in the Gates Cambridge Common Room on Tuesday 28th January.

The speakers are:
Nicholas Rice [2013], who is doing an MPhil Advanced Chemical Engineering. He will talk about hydrogen fuel cell technology and the challenges it faces, including technical, legislative and social ones. His talk will highlight just how complex the technical challenges are facing engineers and scientists in this field and the progress that is being made towards its widespread commercialisation.

Mariel Williams [2013], who is doing an MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies. She will talk about how the study of fossil teeth’s dental microwear, the microscopic patterns that form on enamel as a result of what an animal eats, is enabling scientist to reconstruct hominin diets. She says studies of how microwear forms and its variation within living species can also shed more light on what exactly the patterns on fossilised teeth are indicative of.

Kaitlin Veenstra [2013], who is doing an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design. She will say that creating new energy efficient buildings is not the answer to reducing the environmental footprint of the built environment sector since it only represents 1% of total building stock. She says:  “Architects must learn to work with what already exists, rather than viewing each commission as a tabula rasa design. Refurbishment is a quicker and more effective path to sustainable future development. Numerous studies have proven the value in refurbishing older buildings – environmental, economic, social, cultural, even psychological – rather than demolishing and rebuilding a new, in all but the most extreme scenarios.” She will talk about how far the design industry can push the envelope in the refurbishment of non-domestic buildings.

Rachel Silverman [2013] who is doing an MPhil in Public Health. She will speak about the ethical and economic implications of how resources are allocated to drug resistant forms of tuberculosis. She says that because drug resistance is often caused by a TB patient’s previous poor adherence to first-line treatment – and because treatment is characterised by high costs, complex regimens, long duration (typically within a hospital setting), toxic side effects, and low success rates – drug resistance creates several important ethical and economic dilemmas. She will discuss the key ethical dimensions of resource allocation for tackling the problem.

Picture credit: PANPOTE and www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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