Rebecca is off to talk to Parliament

Lancaster University student Rebecca Shepherd has been picked to represent researchers at Wesminster
Lancaster University student Rebecca Shepherd has been picked to represent researchers at Wesminster

A Lancashire student is heading to Westminster.

But, Rebecca Shepherd’s journey to Parliament has nothing to do with politics

She is doing a PhD at Lancaster Medical School, funded by the Anatomical Society, and has been chosen as part of the STEM for Britain competition which aims to raise the profile of Britain’s early-stage researchers at Westminster by engaging Members of both Houses of Parliament with current science, engineering and mathematics research.

Around 100 MPs and members of the House of Lords are expected to attend the event.

Researchers will present their work and be awarded prizes for the best posters. Rebecca’s project is looking at the anatomical role for fat cells (adipocytes) in the bone marrow matrix and how these may contribute to the formation of bone structures.

She said: “ I feel this is an amazing opportunity to engage policy makers with my research.”

Rebecca added: “ “My research looks at whether fat cells found inside bone affect bone formation, focussing on patients with osteoarthritis. Characterising the role of fat cells in bone formation could help improve our understanding of bone diseases, which could in turn open up new treatment opportunities for diseases such as osteoarthritis.”

“The scheme is important for PhD students like myself as it gives us an opportunity to publicise our research outside academia, demonstrating the significance of our research to policy-makers and the wider public.

“It enables us to develop our skills in science communication and public engagement, ensuring that important science does not remain locked up in a

laboratory.”