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MRF visit research at Leicester University

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Posted by Gill Currie on 17 January 2012

On Wednesday 11 January 2012, MRF Members Valerie Smith, Marie and Roger Swindells, Jane Kitchin and Jenny Winch, went to Leicester University to find out about the MRF funded research being conducted there in the Genetics department.

The research is being led by Dr Chris Bayliss, and is using the latest genetic techniques to look at two parts of meningococcal bacteria that are present on the surface of the bug. The aim is to look at the structure and function of these two proteins and their potential as new vaccine targets against MenB and other types of meningococcal disease.

A few short presentations were given by Dr Bayliss and his colleagues Fadil Bidmos and Wilhelm Schwaeble about the work they have been doing, and it’s importance for combating meningitis and septicaemia. It became clear that funding of basic research such as Dr Bayliss’s, is vital in finding new approaches in preventing meningococcal disease.

After tea, coffee and much discussion between members and the researchers, it was time to don lab coats and have a go at some genetics work ourselves in the GENIE labs – specialised genetics teaching laboratories at the University. The task was to extract DNA from a banana, and you can see everyone got stuck in!

We also saw where Dr Bayliss and Fadil Bidmos conduct their work with MRF funds, separating proteins from the bacteria across gels, making them visible as small dark bands.

Jenny found the visit particularly inspiring:

“Thank you so much for the invitation! It was an amazing experience, and not only locating the DNA......just loved the lab coat.....

The university staff made very complex research easy to understand, and of course to me and other supporters it is the end result of our fund raising efforts. I have been talking about it since returning, and also reflecting that some great things have been discovered since Elliot's death and in some way this helps deal with the loss. MRF is a wonderful organisation and I am proud to be a part of it. Very pleased to meet you all, and thanks to my lab partner Laurie."


You can also read Marie’s account of the visit here.

Many thanks to Dr Bayliss, Fadil, Dr Cas Kramer and their other colleagues at Leicester for a really interesting afternoon.

Dr Bayliss and Fadil still have a lot more work that they would like to do on this project, and it’s only possible with your support. Donate now.





Gill Currie
Research Officer

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