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School of Pharmacy Undergraduates Enter Telegraph STEM Awards

19 February 2018

Two School of Pharmacy undergraduates have entered the Telegraph STEM awards for 2018. The winner of the award will receive a payment of £25,000 and a place on a career-defining work experience programme.

This year the challenge is to come up with innovative ideas for combatting childhood pneumonia. This “forgotten killer” is responsible for almost 1 in 5 deaths in children under five worldwide. The WHO has reported death tolls of over two million children every year, meaning that action is urgently needed.

Cardiff Pharmacy undergraduates Taha Hassan and Amisha Patel have both entered the healthcare challenge with unique ideas. Amisha, a student in her third year, is looking into microwaving honey at high energy levels to turn it into nanoparticles that can then be coated with antimicrobial-rich honey to reach the site of infection (the lungs) through an inhaler. Her project is entitled, Microwaved Honey to Combat Multidrug Resistance in Developing Countries For Childhood Pneumonia.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working on my STEM project over the past 2 weeks,” said Amisha. “and I am very happy with the final result of the presentation. I have learnt many transferable skills, such as time-keeping and researching and evaluating, which will especially come in use next year for my fourth year project.”

Taha, who is in his first year, will be looking at how liposomes might be used to battle the disease. His project is entitled, The use of liposomes in preventing Childhood Pneumonia.

Dr. James Blaxland is mentoring the students, having spotted the awards online. After sending out an email inviting applicants, Taha and Amisha responded with enthusiasm and passion for the competition.

James said, “After conversations around the ideas we met several times to refine their presentations and scientific basis, as well as training in communication skills. They have both worked extremely hard fitting in the competition around their studies and I wish them both success in this year’s STEM awards. Watch this Space!”