Academic Lecture Programme resumes

Our Academic Lecture Programme is now in full swing with two insightful sessions delivered to pupils in Years 11 and 12.

The first talk – entitled ‘From Molecule to Medicine’ was the launch event for the school’s 2022 programme which brings in experts in a range of different academic disciplines to talk about their cutting-edge research.

Rachel Owen, an associate director at AstraZeneca, gave students a fascinating glimpse into the world of cutting-edge drug and medicine development.

She outlined her work helping medicines take shape from first laboratory idea through to a fully developed and marketed product.

“There are multiple stages in the process and on average it will take 12 years for a drug to go through every stage of development,” said Rachel, who is also a parent at Queen’s and is based at AstraZeneca in Macclesfield.

“There are also multiple skillsets needed at every stage from the scientists themselves through to the management and administrative teams – it is an environment where lifelong learning is absolutely crucial.’

It detailed the pressures drug companies are now under to speed up the research process in the wake of the rapid development of Covid vaccines and the huge importance of ensuring research priorities are balanced against the needs of patient welfare.

Year 12 pupil Katie Townsend said: “The talk gave a real depth to a topic that we did not know a lot about before – it really underlined the complexities of drug development but also what a fascinating area it is to work in.”

The second lecture saw 'Mean Girls' out in cyberspace as the topic where a leading UK researcher set out her ideas on the reality of the online apps being used by thousands and sometimes millions of teenagers.  

Dr Ysabel Gerrard's talk looked in depth at anonymous messaging and the apps that allow much of the cyberbullying that can be so damaging to young people.

"All media technologies - especially when they are new - create huge concerns about their impact on young people," said Dr Gerrard, a lecturer in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield.

"There is no doubt these apps can be used for bad purposes - for example in one school I studied, a girl had compiled and then shared a list of what she said was the ugliest pupils in the school, which caused huge upset and trauma.

"Then again I have spoken to boys from difficult family backgrounds who have said that these apps allowed them to share things with others they never could have done in person and that this even might have saved their lives."

Dr Gerrard outlined how many of the apps become hugely popular extremely quickly and then will disappear just as quickly.  Some of the apps she mentioned which have been through this process are IOLO, tbh and Sarahah.

Dr Gerrard, a consultant on suicide prevention for Facebook, also spoke about the degree programme she was involved with in Digital Media and Society and explained how she secures her data through interviews and 'art sessions' with pupils and young people.

We still have four more lectures this term open to Year 11 and 12 girls from local schools to register for. Book online here.

  • Tuesday 1st February - ‘A New Radical Undergraduate Degree’ Kiran Momi - London Interdisciplinary School
  • Tuesday 8th February - ‘Public health and working as a nutritionist’ - Alex Williams – University of Cambridge
  • Tuesday 22nd February -‘Not Dead Things: The Material Lives and Afterlives of Early Modern Printed Books' - Michael Durrant – University College of North Wales
  • Tuesday 1st March - ‘Business Management and Marketing’ Marketing Analysis & Decisions: Products, Services, Segmentation & Targeting - Dr Helen Milward - Teaching Fellow in Marketing & PG Programme Director in Management for Keele Business School