Benjamin Stutchbury wins over audience at FameLab Regional Finals

stutchbury (1)Faculty PhD student Benjamin Stutchbury recently took part in the North West regional finals of FameLab UK 2014, a competition to find new voices in science. Four other University researchers were also involved.

The event, hosted by MOSI, saw the region’s finest communicators battle it out to impress a judging panel of Dr Phil Manning (University of Manchester), Carolyn Bishop (University of Huddersfield), and Victoria Gill (BBC). The prize on offer was a place in the FameLab UK National Final. Each contestant had three minutes to present accurate and interesting science in an accessible way, using everyday language and storytelling.

Benjamin won the audience vote at the Regional Finals with his presentation entitled ‘Designing drugs on the London Underground’. His talk focused on the use of systems biology to improve drug design. Mathematical networks are widely used in systems biology so Benjamin used the London Underground map as an example of a mathematical network that the audience could easily relate to. Benjamin said:

“The ability to communicate complex scientific concepts to a wide audience is an extremely important skill to develop. Concentrating complex science into a (hopefully) entertaining three-minute talk was extremely challenging, but also great fun. I was amazed by how inventive some of the contestants were and the range of scientific topics covered. I would recommend anyone to give it a go next year!”

Dr Jo Pennock, a lecturer from the Faculty, also participated in the Regional Finals. Jo was chosen as a wildcard and will go into a draw for the last spot in the National Final, held at Bloomsbury Theatre on the 23rd April.