Bioengineering in the 2nd session of “Science in the Classroom” in London

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Last 25th January 2016, the bioengineer Ana Mercedes Campos Marín of the University of Sheffield visited 14-18 years-old students in the Spanish School Vicente Cañada Blanch in London, as part of the second session of “Science in the Classroom”. 

Campos Marín studied Industrial Engineering in the Universidad de Castilla La Mancha and she has just finished her PhD at the Department of Mechanical Engineering in INSIGNEO, at the University of Sheffield. Ana started her talks by telling students everything about her curiosities and personal and professional motivations that had driven her from her hometown, Ciudad Real, to Sheffield (United Kingdom), with an Erasmus stay in Lyon (France) and a short research stay in Milan (Italy). 

Campos Marín explained students in a lay-language her PhD project about bone regeneration. In particular, this bioengineer studies the nature and physical properties of the scaffolds where the bone stem cells would settle to regenerate any fractured bone. She also listed some research projects conducted in her lab such as biomechanical studies of the human body, or analyses about the physical properties of the cannulas required to preventing clots in blood vessels with high-level of cholesterol deposits. 

The researcher claimed: “’Science in the Classroom’ has allowed me to approach younger generations and share with them my experience, so I could inspire them not only to keep learning, but also to work in something that fulfills them. Be curious and creative are the two main traits that helped me to undertake something as innovative and fascinating as research in bone regeneration, in which I have applied every skill acquired during my academic training in Industrial Engineering. I never imagined that Engineering could enable me to help people in the medical field.” 

Precisely, students were very interested in learning more about both the wide range of fields that Industrial Engineering covers, or about the time for Ana’s breakthroughs to be translated into clinical applications. Ana stressed the importance of her university background, of being open-minded, and of setting out enticing professional challenges able. She emphasised that “Engineering can be the tool of future professionals to work in something that you love and that, at the same time, can have a big impact in society.” 

The FECYT International Scientific Coordinator in London and “Science in the Classroom” coordinator, Dr Lorenzo Melchor, also participated actively in the debates. Lorenzo said that “With these sessions, we aim to make students both feel an attachment for scientific culture, and develop their critical thinking. The debates that Ana opened in regards to women in Engineering, the use of animals in research or the ethical boundaries in the use of new technologies in medicine, all made students contrast their opinions in a constructive way.” 

The Head of the Spanish School Vicente Cañada Blanch, María Isabel Martínez López, attended one of the lectures. She ensured that “We consider this programme a very interesting and enriching initiative for our students, in concordance with other activities that we already do such as ‘the Science Week’. So altogether, it generates a quality framework that students have received with enthusiasm. As an institutional activity, both its permanence and inclusion within our Educative Framework are guaranteed. Indeed we welcome activities like these, as they contribute to better student training and proper academic and career advice.” 

Campos Marín was very satisfied of her experience in “Science in the Classroom” and told that “my talk to the students of the Spanish School Vicente Cañada Blanch has allowed me to identify their curiosities and test their enthusiasm to both pursue their dreams and become good professionals.” 

“Science in the Classsroom” is a programme organised by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Embassy of Spain in London, by which a scientists or engineer per month visits 14-18 years-old students in the Spanish School Vicente Cañada Blanch in London until the end of the term. This programme is also supported by the Spanish Education Office in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, the Spanish School Vicente Cañada Blanch, and the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK/CERU). “Science in the Classroom” is embedded in the FECYT line of action related to the promotion of scientific culture and dissemination, and support for internationalization of Spanish science. 


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