Cinzia Imberti is a 2nd year PhD student in the Division of Imaging Sciences & Biomedical Engineering. Her research is about the development and evaluation of radiotracers for PET imaging. Here she talks about her involvement in an outreach activity all about chemistry.
On 17 February March 2016, the Division of Imaging Sciences & Biomedical Engineering opened its doors to around 40 secondary school students (years 11-13) from the London area. They were curious to learn more about chemistry in a medical setting and interested in pursuing scientific studies. This event was part of the larger Outreach event: “Discover Chemistry at King’s College London” organised annually by the Department of Chemistry, now in its third year, under the supervision of Dr Helen Coulshed.
During their visit to St Thomas’ Hospital, the students were able to gain an insight into molecular imaging and understand the key role of this applied field of chemistry in diagnostic medicine.
A tour of our Imaging Chemistry and Biology Laboratories highlighted to the students some of the processes involved in the development of radiotracers, from chemical design to radiolabelling, in vitro testing and in vivo/ex vivo evaluation. Finally they had the unique opportunity to visit the PET Centre where Dr Colm McGinnity and his colleagues talked them through clinical PET imaging as the ultimate goal of radiotracers development.
There was an opportunity for students to network with some of the research staff over a cup of tea, actively discuss some of the current research displayed in the posters and ask questions about our careers.
The division’s contribution to Discover Chemistry has been brilliantly coordinated by Julia Torres for the past two years. Therefore, when my supervisor, Professor Phil Blower, asked me to take over the organization, I appreciated how much work me and my colleagues would have to put in to make it a success. What I did not anticipate was the sudden sense of realisation I felt when hearing the enthusiastic feedback of the students. To have inspired these young men and women to undertake scientific studies, or at least to look at the world through scientific eyes, made this event an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience for everyone who took part in it.