Science Student Research Series

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Wolfson PhD Students
Date 24/02/2023 at 17.45 - 24/02/2023 at 19.15 Where Roger Needham Room (Chancellor's Centre) & Zoom

Join the Science Society for their new Science Student Research Series: friendly and engaging talks given by PhD students from Wolfson College about their research.

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Join the Science Society for their exciting new Science Student Research Series.

Each event features short talks given by current Wolfson PhD students, covering a wide range of topics targeted at a general audience. 

The talks are only 20 minutes long (including question time) and offer students a chance to share the research with the Wolfson community and beyond.



An exploration of the Modus Operandi used by Sex Traffickers in the UK

Concepts of slavery seem – to the layperson – only to be issues of historical interest, pertaining largely to the use of African labour by Colonial countries up until the mid-19th century. The reality, unfortunately, is very different. As written in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 4: ‘’No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms’’. However the reality remains starkly at odds with this overture of good intentions. Sex trafficking among other forms of human trafficking is often described as a ‘booming business’ with an estimate of being (approximatively) a 150 billion dollar industry (International Labour Organization, 2014) and is thriving more than ever under capitalism, making this one of the most profitable business around the globe.


Is bioelectricity an answer to treating type 2 diabetes and obesity?

Sofia AleksashinaThe Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and obesity continue to be one of the most widespread and rapidly developing modern chronic diseases, substantially impairing patients' lives and causing mortal medical complications.

Recent decades of intensive studies introduced several therapeutic ways of maintaining metabolic diseases - primarily through targeting gut hormones produced by specialized intestinal endocrine cells (so-called enteroendocrine cells or EECs). However, there is still room to grow as side effects persist, drug efficiency has a strong potential for enhancement, and new, more sophisticated and practical targets might emerge from fundamental research.

In my talk, I will elaborate on how my PhD project approaches one of such groups of promising but unfairly overlooked targets - ion channels. Integrated into all cellular membranes, these proteins are essential for generating, sustaining and regulating bioelectricity - a thrilling phenomenon with a crucial role in most physiological processes shared across living organisms.

Using a range of electrophysiological, cell-imaging and bioinformatics techniques, we hope to shed light on fascinating perspectives of controlling ion channels and, consequently, bioelectricity to provide advanced pharmacological support for metabolic diseases.


Magnetoelectric Coupling in Inorganic/Organic Hybrid Composite Thin Films for Advanced Memory Storage Applications

Muireann de h-Óra, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

The demand for digital memory is growing with the increase in popularity of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Internet-of-Things, and big data. This in turn has caused an energy demand which has influenced innovation in memory technologies to look towards non-volatile memory. Non-volatile memory does not require a constant current supply. Imagine opening your laptop with everything just as you left it without any loss of battery power; this is just one of the many ways to use non-volatility as an energy-efficient solution to the data storage challenge. Magnetic memory is a promising non-volatile way of storing data, but conventional magnetic memory concepts still use electrical current to control magnetic properties. Current-operated memory devices have the same problem with power consumption, as joule heating leads to significant energy loss by heat dissipation. However, magnetoelectrics can offer magnetic switching without any current flow for, not only memory storage, but also water remediation, biomedical sensors, and drug delivery applications.

Magnetoelectric composites allow the change in magnetisation/polarisation with an application of an electric/magnetic field. Our study shows a novel fabrication approach to high-performance magnetoelectric devices, consisting of a vertically aligned nanocomposite with magnetostrictive CoFe2O4 matrix and ferroelectric polymer (PVDF-TrFE) embedded nanopillars. The films have advantages over previous composites by having a higher density of interfaces for more effective strain coupling between the ferroelectric and magnetostrictive phases at directional, high-quality interfaces. Also, the ability to more carefully tune and change the magnetic anisotropy in the CoFe2O4 films to design strong magnetoelectric coupling is demonstrated.



This is a hybrid event, which will take place in-person in the Gatsby Room (Chancellor's Centre) and also on Zoom.

If you would like to attend online, please register for the Zoom link.

For the in-person audience, drinks and snacks will be available after the talk.


The Science Society organises regular talks spanning a wide range of topics on Fridays during term time.