All posts by Simon Perry

About Simon Perry

After cross-training as a journalist 10+ years ago, Simon has been living and breathing news ever since. He would love to see more of the beautiful Island he lives on, but spends far too much time relaying the news of the Isle of Wight to the Islanders.

Postponed: Dr Dominic Papineau – The first micro organisms to be found on earth

Update: Meeting postponed until 2020. More details to follow.

Dr Dominic Papineau, who is in the Nanotechnology Department at University College London, will be talking about the first micro organisms to be found on earth.

He led an International team of scientists who have discovered in Canada and Greenland the first trace elements of micro organisms that push the date for life on earth back further than three billion years ago.

They suggest that life started in the volcanoes (black smokers) under the ocean using iron for energy.

Where and when
The Regency Suite is above the Conservative Club in Shanklin in Palmerston Road just off the High Street.

The nearest car parks are in Landguard Road and Orchardleigh Road, both only two or three minutes walk to the Conservative Club. Parking is free after 6pm.

As we have to pay a rent for the facilities, we have to ask for a donation of at least £3 on the door to make sure we cover all our expenses. i.e. the rent, cost of speakers’ travel expenses and a meal, plus overnight accommodation if needed.

Dr Michelle Hale – The importance of marine phytoplankton in controlling climate change

Dr Michelle Hale, Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Portsmouth Dr Michelle HaleUniversity, gave a talk about the importance of marine phytoplankton in controlling climate change.

She illustrated this with a lot of pictures from research she has conducted whilst at sea in the Arctic and elsewhere.

Dr Michelle Hale: Presentation


Q&A with the audience

Dr Catherine Mercer and Dr Frank Ratcliff – The 100,000 Genome Project

Dr Catherine Mercer gave a background into how she came to genetics over ten years ago – and how much testing has changed over that time. It used to take three months to get the sequence of a single gene back, now the whole Human genome can be sequenced in 48 hours.

Dr Frank Ratcliff and Dr Catherine Mercer - The 100,000 Genome ProjectCatherine explained how the 100,000 Genome Project came about and how the structure of the UK’s NHS is uniquely placed to do a project like this.

There are two types of patients involved, those with Rare diseases (defined as less than 1 in 2,000 of the population having it – totalling 6-8,000 Rare diseases in total) and separately, those with cancer.

The process
Using the skills of an observant doctor combined with the analysis of the patient’s genomes, patterns are detected with the aim of identifying the genes that are responsible for the Rare diseases – or cancer.

Further detail was gone into, then Dr Frank Ratcliff ran through a number of case studies of people in the programme, including interviews with their family members.

Genome 21 printed in a bookDuring his presentation, two not inconsiderable bound books were passed around the audience. Each contained the sequencing of the single Genome 21 – the most simple we were told. As you can see from the photo, the pages were filled with a stream of the four characters that make up DNA, tightly printed four point font.

All round a very interesting insight into this important project.

Unsurprisingly, after the break, many questions were raised by the audience.

Dr Catherine Mercer & Dr Frank Ratcliff: Presentation

Dr Frank Ratcliff and Dr Catherine Mercer: Presentation slides

Q&A with the audience