Yiran Ai-Feminist Films

 

 

 

 

Yiran Ai’s Research into Feminist Films

On the 19th of June chief operating officer or COO, Rukhsana Malik and CEO and medical director Dr Mohmmed Kamran attended the University of Birmingham’s 13th annual research poster conference, which is considered by the university as one of their flagship events. It was a brilliant event and the talent of the researchers was evident, the graduate school did a brilliant job and we were grateful to be invited. The event hosted over 100 research abstracts that summarised research activities carried out by the doctoral candidates across multiple disciplines ranging from arts, and law, environmental, dental, physical, and life sciences. One of these candidates was Yiran Ai.

Yiran Ai is a doctoral candidate at the University of Birmingham. Her research

Rukshana Malik and Yiran Ai next to Yiran’s Reasearch Poster

is based on gender perspectives in feminist films with Western directors and those in Hong Kong exploring the interpretations of feminism in the two cultures. The Western feminist films Yiran is studying include The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) and About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, 1999), she is also studying Summer Snow (Ann Hui, 1995) and Centre Stage (Stanley Kwan, 1991), which are by directors from Hong Kong. The focus of the study is gender identity as well as relationships between males and females.

One thing that stood out in Yiran’s research was the fact that a feminist film in no way equates to women’s cinema, they don’t have to be about women’s issues, they shouldn’t just be aimed at women, rather it should be about destroying the image that there are limitations to gender roles. Gender shouldn’t be a defining characteristic that prevents character development. Yiran was also keen to point out that directors of

Dr Mohammed Kamran and Yiran Ai next to Yiran’s research poster

feminist films didn’t have to be female, the films she is studying are directed by men and women. The feminist aspect is far more about female character development from passive to “active, aggressive and independent”.

Yiran poses that diversity and equality are vital, feminist films should show intersectionality and question not only gender roles but prejudices in ethnicity and race.

The connection between a feminist film expert and a company working in clinical research may seem tenuous but we were so enthused by Yiran’s passion in her plea for social equality and we couldn’t help but hear the echoes of her work throughout our own. Future Genetics has always been about empowering people to take part in clinical trials to improve health equality and outcomes for themselves. It is equally important for us, at Future Genetics, to see equality improve in every aspect of our lives.

Healthcare and social injustice have often gone hand in hand. The 1980s saw one of the most frightening epidemics in recent history, AIDs spread quickly throughout gay communities across Europe and America with no immediately apparent cause. This led to a campaign of fear and isolation by homophobic groups leading to sufferers being refused treatment and research being delayed and ultimately resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Gender and racial inequality can themselves take their toll on an individuals mental and physical health. Ethnic minorities are three times more likely to be refused entry to a bar, restaurant or club and women are far less likely to progress to Executive roles within their companies, only 7% of FTSE 100 companies are run by women. Social and professional isolation can lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety which themselves are as much a risk factor for mortality as high blood pressure obesity and smoking.

Yiran’s work could have massive implications on these issues, if we see an increase in equality within the media, if we see a rise in the production of feminist films we can change the narrative and see our society reach a position where women and minorities can reach positions of power and the situation you are born, work and live in will no longer pose a risk to one’s health.

Inequality is rife but so is empowerment, we are moving towards a society of acceptance and equality for all, we are starting to check our privilege and use that to further each other’s causes. The world has come on in leaps and bounds even in the past 30 years and the work that Yiran is doing will have implications, not only on producers in Hollywood but on minority groups and women working in all sectors, the true equality that Yiran looks for will be vital in the coming years to create an interesting and prosperous society.

Alice Stuart-Brown

Aston University Healthcare Aspirations Event

 

Healthcare Aspirations Event- Aston University

On the 2nd of July our clinical researcher lead, Kash Arfan and I attended the Healthcare Aspirations event at Aston University. 

The event was aimed at secondary school students aged 14-17 who are aiming to go into healthcare related careers so we leapt at the opportunity to show them what a career in genetics could be like. For some students this was the first they’d heard of clinical trials and their relation to healthcare, many had arrived at the event with the aspirations of a career in primary care but came to realise that perhaps they’d like the more lab based career that companies such as Future Genetics offer. 

Students from all across Birmingham came to the city centre university to discuss their futures. Staff from many healthcare professions as well as from Life Sciences courses at several Birmingham-based universities, congregated in Aston’s great hall and we loved sharing our work with people in our field as well as answering the various questions the students had. We enjoyed answering an eclectic range of questions on the effects of clinical trials on the general population, what they thought of health inequality and even how the budding scientists could follow a career in genetics and clinical research. 

After a successful morning discussing our work Kash was invited to speak on the panel ‘What Does it Take to Pursue a Career in Healthcare?’ along-side Karen Newberry, a senior lecturer in the occupational health department at the University of Derby. This was a great opportunity to s

Karen Newberry (Left), Senior Lecturer at the University of Derby

hare what we love about our work, the challenges we’re presented with and how, and why it’s all worth it. Mrs Newberry informed the students that one of her favourite things about being an occupational therapist was seeing the affects her work has in helping people live a normal, pain-free life. I think, in this, she summed up our ethos, she could empower people to work and enjoy themselves around their pain and improve their quality of life.

We were also glad to be able to empower the students to take charge of their future, we hope we gave them the tools to investigate their options further. Some were the first in their family hoping to go to university; some knew exactly what they wanted to do but needed to know how to get there; some of them knew they were interested in healthcare but were shocked by the diverse nature of the sector. We were delighted by the interest everyone showed in the possibility of a career in genetics as well as the enthusiasm they showed for ending the health

inequality we discussed. We found it reassuring that they were outraged by the issue and were interested in how we’re working to solve it.

 

Alice Stuart-Brown

Gold Champions!

We’re celebrating the Teams at the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School, so we’ve put together some photos of each team from the event, congratulations to everyone involved. Here is the team that was voted 1st place – Alice

Silver Champions!

We’re celebrating the Teams at the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School, so we’ve put together some photos of each team from the event, congratulations to everyone involved. Here is the team that was voted 2nd place – Alice

Bronze Champions!

We’re celebrating the Teams at the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School, so we’ve put together some photos of each team from the event, congratulations to everyone involved. Here is the team that was voted 3rd place – Alice

Joint 4th Place Teams

 

We’re celebrating the Teams at the Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School, so we’ve put together some photos of each team from the event, congratulations to everyone involved. Here are the teams that were voted 4th place – Alice

Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School

Postgraduate Summer School with University of Birmingham

Alice Stuart-Brown and Fabiana Silva

During the week beginning 10th June 2019 the University of Birmingham has been hosting their annual Postgraduate Enterprise Summer School, this year we have been lucky enough to collaborate with the university to set the promising postgrads a real-world challenge to tackle.

According to students, this course came highly recommended by those who participated in the past, so we were excited to get involved.

Each team, comprised of six students, was asked to come up with a solution to the challenge that Future Genetics has been working to solve: How can we tackle inequality in healthcare?

Saba, an immunology PhD candidate stated that she took part in the summer school as she wanted to diversify her skill set, her research is heavily lab- based, and she wanted to try something more ‘out the box’. She added that she liked how the summer school has offered her a real-world problem that required applying the problem-solving skills she has learned throughout her scientific education. Arooj, a cultural heritage and museums PhD candidate, pointed out ‘As someone from Oman this project has really made me think about the distributions of medicines and their context, it’s made me question how many medicines are designed and made in the west for Caucasian populations’. The students that took part came from many different academic backgrounds, their subjects ranged from linguistics to life sciences but everyone found something they could relate back to their studies, whether that was simply putting the skills they’ve acquired into practice or using their knowledge to think of innovative solutions. One law student was particularly interested in the impacts our work could have on government policy in the future, whether we could use it to incentivize people to take part or whether it would one day be mandatory to have representative clinical trials.

When setting the project, we informed the students of the extent of health inequality in the UK. The overwhelming majority of people within clinical trial groups are Caucasian and between 18 and 65. This leaves a huge proportion of the population either underrepresented or entirely excluded. There are genetic differences between every population no matter how similar they appear, for example, the genetic variant that cause the lung condition cystic fibrosis is much more prevalent in the white Irish population than in the rest of the European Caucasian population. Studies have shown that 2.23% of genes are different across 18 Indian populations, although this seems low, in genetic terms it is a sizable difference that could have massive effects on the way they react to medication (Papiha, 1996).

We were delighted to discover that when asked what they would take away from the project almost every student commented on the fact that this is an 

incredibly important issue that needs more awareness, many remarked that they were shocked that it was an issue, some knew there was healthcare inequality among different groups but were alarmed at the true extent of the under-representation.. They were all enthused by the idea of working in multidisciplinary, and aptly, multicultural teams with people hailing from all over the world. One liver disease and drug safety student referred to 

himself as a ‘one-man band’ when working in a lab and remarked on how nice it was to be working in teams that were all heading towards the same goal.

As you may be aware the problem we set is the problem Future Genetics was created to tackle, health inequalities in minorities is a massive issue in the UK and one we are set on solving. 14% of our population is unrepresented in the health care system. That’s not to say there has been no attempt to solve this issue, for example, the yellow card scheme has been set up by the government to help tackle adverse drug reactions in patients. It gives an easy to use platform to report problems with a drug whether that be a safety concern, for example overheating of E-cigarettes, or a medical concern such as a drug not working. (Yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk, 2019) This scheme is vitally important in the healthcare system, but it’s massively underused, the MHRA (the governing body that runs the yellow card scheme) says “ADRs themselves are thought to occur in 10-20% of hospital in-patients, and one study found that over 2% of patients admitted with an adverse drug reaction died, approximately 0.15% of all patients admitted” (Assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, 2019) this shows quite how dangerous they can be but only 0-5% are reported in the UK, shockingly this drops to 1% within Europe

Future Genetics is proud to empower people from different backgrounds to get involved in clinical trials and take charge of their health and seeing the interest and enthusiasm from the range of participants in this summer school makes us positive that our study will make a massive difference.

We’d like to thank the University of Birmingham for the collaboration and the students who all agreed to be photographed and interviewed

University of Birmingham Panel Session

University of Birmingham Panel Session 

My name is Alice and I am a Research Scientist at Future Genetics.

In keeping with the ethos of empowerment at Future Genetics, Dr Mohammed Kamran, who is the CEO and Medical Director of the organisation, will be participating in a panel discussion being held at the University of Birmingham, titled ‘Insights into Science: in and out of Labs’. The event is being held on Wednesday the 30th of January.

This provides an opportunity for students at the University of Birmingham to gain insights into the career opportunities that are available to them and capture the experiences and perspectives of the panel speakers. The speaker panel consists of 6 members, that include 2 patent attorney and trademark specialists, an application team manager, a business engagement manager, a life sciences recruitment consultant, as well as Dr Kamran, who will provide insights into his academic, clinical trials and research and development experiences.

This event compliments another event that Dr Kamran spoke at, which was the Aston University Careers Event in December 2018. For those who are interested, please click the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mR3DzL_qB4

Given our relationship with the University of Birmingham, we hope Future Genetics can add value to the next generation of Scientists, Entrepreneurs and Innovators. 

Thank You

Mental Health statistics: time to help

Mental illnesses are continuously affecting individuals and families. There are a wide range of mental illnesses that fall into different sub categories. Examples of mental illnesses include Depression, anxiety, Bipolar and Schizophrenia.

25% of young women suffer from a mental illness

Everyday more and more people are diagnosed with a mental illness especially women. Mental illnesses are also becoming more frequent in the younger population. A recent study conducted in 2017 by the NHS and involved more than 9,000 individuals. The results of this study were that 1 in 4 Young women will develop a mental illness and a total of 23.9% reported having a disorder.

More needs to be done around the topic of mental illnesses due to how common they are amongst the whole population. Mental illnesses are most common in young females. I believe that more needs to be done around the topic of mental illnesses due to how common they are amongst the whole population. As they are most common in young females I hope I will be able to help other young females who are suffering from a mental illness by contributing to creating awareness around this issue.

Poor Mental Health and triggers

There are many factors which may contribute to the development of a mental Illness in young females such as exam stress, which a large proportion of teenagers will have to face. Body image is also a significant factor. This factor is enhanced by social media which constantly promotes an idealistic image, in addition social media also causes a constant comparison against other girls. However, it is debatable whether or not social media can be solely blamed despite being a factor. Social media is extremely time consuming with nearly one third of children spending at least four hours on these apps. Those who did have a mental health problem were two to three times less likely to spend at least 4 hours on social media which shows it does have a negative impact. The ways it appears to have negative impact is by the number of likes, comparison and cyber-bullying as well. Despite this social media cannot be blamed as the only culprit. As sometimes social media can be used to support an individual who is suffering from a mental illness.

Affected populations & support frameworks

These factors are not only specific to females but males as well, especially the younger population, as 1 in 9 children aged between 5-15 are reported to have a disorder. This figure has been rising over the years as it now stands at 11.2% in comparison to 9.7% in 1999. Figures are constantly rising but not all young people are receiving the help and support they need. This is shown by how nearly a third of young individuals who were referred to community services got turned away. Even those who received help had to wait an alarming average time period of 2 months. 32% were waiting for treatment at the end of the year and 15% had to wait over 6 weeks to even be seen. This needs to change, young, at risk and vulnerable children should not have to wait these time periods to receive treatment or to be seen. 

Management of Arthritis using Biosimilar Molecules – an NHS perspective

Arthritis

Arthritis is an illness which affects numerous people and it results in the inflammation of the joints. It can affect one or multiple joints. There are several different forms of arthritis. Approximately 350 million people have Arthritis worldwide, with a total of 10 million of these people are living in the United Kingdom. This illness is treated by the use of a number of different drugs including a drug called Adalimumab. A protein called tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is produced by the immune system naturally. However, in arthritis, the inflammation is caused by a protein called tumour necrosis factor (TNF) being overproduced.

 

Adalimumab 

Adalimumab is a monoclonal antibody that acts as a TNF blocker. It it works by binding to the TNF molecules. The action of binding then prevents the molecules of TNF attaching to the body’s healthy cells. This then reduces inflammation of the joints.

 

My name is Lucy Field and I am a research Scientist at Future Genetics. I have just read an article that focuses on the development of a new drug which treats Arthritis.

 

Biosimilars

The new drug is a biosimilar version of Adalimumab. The development of this new drug has a positives impact on the NHS and their budget. The reasoning for this is because Adalimumab was a medicine that Hospitals spend nearly £400 million a year on making it a relatively expensive medicine. The new biosimilar version will only cost a quarter of this amount allowing the NHS to save up to £300 million a year by 2021. This outstanding cut from the national annual medicines bill is the biggest NHS saving from a single drug negotiation.

 

NHS Cost Savings

The money from this saving could be used to employ 11,700 more community nurses or 19,800 more breast cancer treatments for patients which could potentially save the lives of thousands of women. This highlights the importance of biosimilar drugs and how a smarter approach to biosimilar drugs across Europe gives patients and taxpayers a better deal.

The saving is due to negotiations with 5 new drug companies who will manufacture bio-similar versions of the dug. These companies are Amgen, Biogen, Mylan/Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin, Sandoz, and AbbVie. This comes after the exclusive patent for Adalimumab (Humira) expired. From December onwards, the new biosimilar versions of the drug from these new companies should be available.

According to the NHS 9 out of 10 new patients should be started on the best value medicine 3 months after the launch of the biosimilar medicine.