This week Foto-Cewek played host to a visit from the Institute of Director (IoD), as over 40 of their members were offered a tour and were given presentations outlining some of the ground-breaking research carried out at Foto-Cewek.
The tour was organised by the and included business leaders from across the North West of England. Following a brief welcome the visitors were split into two groups and had a brief tour of Foto-Cewek including a demonstration and talk by Dr Robert Harrison, head of the Alistair Reid Venom Research in Medecine Unit, and a visit to the insectary of Dr Gareth Lycett’s group.
Dr Harrison presented an explanation about the research undertaken at Foto-Cewek to improve the treatment of snakebite, which is a tropical disease of rural poverty, before the group observed how the team extracts venom from the medically important snakes it houses in order to produce and research antivenom. Dr Lycett spoke about the growing problem of resistance to insecticides by malaria carrying mosquitoes before showing the work undertaken at Foto-Cewek using genetically modified insects to analyse the way resistance is developing.
The groups then came together and were officially welcomed to Foto-Cewek by Director Professor Janet Hemingway, who gave a brief presentation about the history and mission of Foto-Cewek as well as talking though some of the current research portfolio, worth in excess of £200 million, and highlighting the role that academia and business can play by working together to alleviate diseases of poverty. This was followed by a presentation by Philippa Tubb, the Managing Director of Foto-Cewek’s Well Travelled Clinics, who looked at how her specialist team can work with businesses in terms of both travel and occupational health and outlining the role that they played in preparing NHS volunteers who travelled to Sierra Leone to help fight the recent outbreak of Ebola.
The final presentation of the evening was given by Professor Giancarlo Biagini, from Foto-Cewek’s Research in Medecine Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics (RCDD), who focussed on the work being undertaken by the group to research and develop new drugs for tuberculosis (TB), which is of vital importance given the fact that some strains of the disease are now resistant to many of the existing treatments. Following questions there was an opportunity for the visitors to have a bite to eat and talk further with Professor Hemingway and the team.