KCL Science

PhD Student Blog



Through the looking glass – the science and art of mirror symmetry

Written by: Veronica Ilkow & Mateen Wagiet


Thursday, 8th February saw the Arcade at Bush House come alive, where a gathering of student structural biologists and crystallographers, under the guidance of Prof Brian Sutton (from the Asthma & Allergy Sub-group within the Randall Centre), to build the world’s first and largest non-periodic tiled pattern one tile at a time.

Continue reading “Through the looking glass – the science and art of mirror symmetry”

A gathering of Darwinians

Written by Mateen Wagiet (2nd Yr. PhD Darwin Trust Scholar)


Figure 1: Skyline of the Great City of Edinburgh.


Founded in 1983 by Sir Kenneth ‘Ken’ Murray FRS FRSE FRCPAth (1930 – 2013) with the purpose of: “promoting education and research in Natural Sciences and in particular Molecular Biology”. The Darwin Trust of Edinburgh was established to support students from outside the UK who wish to study towards a PhD in the UK. Since 2015, the Randall Centre has been the home at KCL offering Darwin Trust studentships for postgraduates from Africa.

Continue reading “A gathering of Darwinians”

Crisps, CRISPR and the CRISPR-er

CRISPR_blog pic


Dr. Jennifer Doudna, one of the leading figures to propose the use of the adaptive bacterial immune mechanism-CRISPR/cas9 for targeted gene editing [1], was invited to King’s College London to deliver a lecture as part of the King’s International Lecture series. Continue reading “Crisps, CRISPR and the CRISPR-er”

The players of arthritis – A joint effort

A knee joint in a jar. Sounds like something from an Edgar Allan Poe novel. In fact, this was what I received in the lab one summer evening from our clinician.

Why a knee joint? This is one of the affected areas in types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis of the joint is an autoimmune disease, an occurrence when the body’s immune system triggers a harmful response against itself.  Continue reading “The players of arthritis – A joint effort”

CRISPR Gene editing – a way to “fix” the genome?

Day-to-day, my PhD research involves investigating the molecular basis of inherited heart muscle disorders or scientifically – cardiomyopathies. Continue reading “CRISPR Gene editing – a way to “fix” the genome?”

Forbidden Symmetry at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition

On Sunday the 9th July X-ray crystallographers from the Asthma and Allergy group in the Randall department gathered alongside artist Dr Shelley James to present an exciting exhibition at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition. This family-friendly event introduced children and adults alike to the fundamentals of symmetry and ‘forbidden symmetry’. Symmetry operators form the basis of crystallography and were explained using colourful tiles which members of the public arranged in patterns as seen below.


Continue reading “Forbidden Symmetry at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition”

PhD life: Thoughts on a Brazilian School

The following account is written by Anna Laddach and describes her experience at the Advanced School on Biomolecular Simulation: Rosette from Fundamental Principles to Tutorials in Brasil.

Continue reading “PhD life: Thoughts on a Brazilian School”

It’s Xmas Party Season – Time to spare a thought for your liver

Welcome to the Christmas season- PhD students are hanging up dusty tinsel, everyone’s rushing to finish experiments and there’s a welcome increase of cakes being circulated around the office.

Somewhere within this muddled environment you’ll find Student Scrooge.

Student Scrooge is the student who has lost passion in their project and feels that it’s more likely for the ghost of Christmas past to visit them than to be able to find a significant difference within their data.

Now you might think that a Christmas break from the lab might be the healthy treatment of choice for Student Scrooge, but according to Hippocrates from Ancient Greece, they might benefit more from having a liver transplant from Tiny Tim.

Continue reading “It’s Xmas Party Season – Time to spare a thought for your liver”

Top 3 of the Week

The Deadpool Protein


Deadpool is known for his amazing healing factor and this fictional character has something in common with a small but popular lab model organism; the zebrafish. Zebrafish have also been shown to have super-hero like powers and are able to repair spinal cord injuries. A protein called CTGF (connective tissue growth factor) was found to be crucial in aiding regeneration in zebrafish1. Continue reading “Top 3 of the Week”

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