Afshan’s big role in stroke research

Dr Afshan Dean
Dr Afshan Dean
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AN EDINBURGH doctor has presented her research to the UK Parliament as part of a national competition aimed at encouraging promising young scientists to promote their early work.

Dr Afshan Dean, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Glasgow, showed off her research on new medications for brain haemorrhage and stroke to a panel of professional and academic experts in a competition involving over 200 young scientists from around the country.

The STEM for Britain competition attracts national attention with a select band of researchers making it through to the final stage by presenting a poster in the House of Commons.

Presenting her poster in the house, Ms Dean said it was an “important opportunity” to showcase her research in front of a wide audience.

She said: “Stroke occurs approximately 152,000 times a year in the UK; that is around one every three minutes.

“It’s the fourth single largest cause of death in the UK, a leading cause of disability and we do not currently have a cure.

“Our research focuses on understanding how stroke develops and investigating if drugs, which are already known to be safe and are used in patients for other diseases, can be used to treat stroke.

“This is an important opportunity to communicate with MPs about the latest research, unmet clinical needs and to help assist with science legislation”

Researchers are given the opportunity to enter one of four categories each covering an area of the sciences - physics, chemistry, biological sciences and mathematics and engineering, with bronze, silver and gold certificates awarded at the end of each session. Bronze winners will receive a £1000 prize; silver, £2000; and gold, £3000 and a medal, while an overall winner from the four sessions who will receive the prestigious Westminster Wharton Medal.

STEM for Britain was established by Dr Eric Wharton in 1997, however following his untimely death in 2007, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, sought to ensure his legacy by retaining the competition for future years.

The competition is open to early stage or early career researchers, which includes university research students and postgraduates.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, chair of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.”

“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”