2017 Highlights from the Analytical Lab

Simon Cooper and Alison Davidson have been awarded £1146 by the Royal Society of Chemistry Research Fund for the “Evaluation of the use of MonoTrap sampling technology for the recovery and analysis of biological contaminants in water supplies”.

Professor John Cassella (left) and Dr Alison Davidson (right) with students, Richard Price and Abbie Renwick

The Burial Research Group led by Professor John Cassella has been going from strength-to-strength this year with great work from our undergraduates and interns. Ting Ting Chu who interned here last semester has won 2nd place for a Student Poster Prize at the recent BAHID conference.

The (student) Burial Research Group

Alison Davidson completed her PhD this year and graduated in July; she has co-authored three papers which have been submitted to journals. Simon Cooper is now starting his PhD and Alison Davidson and John Cassella are co-supervising him.

Dr Alison Davidson at Graduation in July

Tuesday 19th December saw our first, live Chemistry Christmas Cracker Event hosted by Dr Jodie Dunnett and Dr Alison Davidson.

Alison and Jodie

Jodie, Course Leader for Chemistry, demonstrated ‘Making Silver Nitrate Baubles’, ‘Colouring Christmas Baubles using Poinsettia Colour Indicator’ and ‘Making Fake Snow’.

Dr Jodie Dunnett with her Chemistree

Alison, our Technical Skills Specialist, showed us some specialised analytical chemistry equipment, investigated the ‘Smell of Christmas Trees’ and ‘A Toxic Victorian Christmas’.

Dr Alison Davidson investigating ‘A Toxic Vicorian Christmas’

If you missed the live event, you can still watch the video on Facebook.






Exploring the Concept of ‘Gender-based violence as a Weapon of War’

PhD student, Charlotte Folkes, attended an insightful lecture about issues of gender-based Violence, including rape, being faced in conflict zones. The lecture, given at the University of Essex, took place on 31sth October. 

The lecture was given by Dr Elaine Storkey, who has a great deal of experience in working in these countries with rape survivors, and within general academia.

Dr Elaine Storkey and Charlotte Folkes

“This week I attended a lecture at University of Essex exploring the concept of ‘Gender-based violence as a Weapon of War’. This was a very insightful talk given by Dr Elaine Storkey who is a well-known academic, broadcaster and author in the field of sexual violence. The session focused on the reasons behind sexual violence in conflict-zones and explored how rape has been used throughout modern history to show dominance, for ethnic cleansing, and as a way of destabilising communities.

Some of the shocking statistics that Dr Storkey shared with the group really emphasised the scale of the issue, including that 49% of the female population in Liberia have been subjected to rape or sexual assault as part of the on-going conflict. Around 200,000 women are known to have been raped during the Congo War, and 50,000 babies have been born as a result of these attacks (however the actual figures are expected to be much higher). It was also stressed that sexual abuse is prevalent in the Western world, as some American states still allow child brides, and UK statistics show up to two women are killed by their partner every week as a result of domestic sexual violence.
This was a very engaging lecture that addressed subjects that are often considered taboo, and it has helped me to consider new areas of research for my PhD project.”