Student doctors had the chance to present their research to leading academics in a showcase event at Keele University.

The ASPIRE Research Showcase – supported by the North Staffordshire Medical Institute and led by Professor Divya Chari – is designed to give the medical researchers of the future the chance to show off their ideas and develop their presentation skills.

This year’s event on Wednesday, November 22nd featured talks and poster displays from 37 medical school undergraduates.

Institute chairman Shaughn O’Brien said: “I was so impressed with the professionalism, eloquence and obvious intelligence of the ASPIRE students and the content of their presentations and posters.

“These are obviously the medical academics of the future and the sooner they can aim their careers in that direction the better.”

The event has taken place annually since 2013 and was recently awarded Institute funding of £15,000 a year, guaranteed for at least five years.

Guest Speakers

This year’s programme included talks by Obstetrics and Gynaecology lecturer Dr Pensee Wu and infectious diseases expert Dr Andrew Ustianowski.

Professor O’Brien added: “The collaboration between the Institute and the Medical School is proving to be very fruitful.

“This is very good use of the charitable donations that the Institute receives and awards.”

Students presented their research on a wide range of subjects including concussion education in elite rugby, the effect of marital status on the risk of cardiovascular disease and the role of genetics in mental illness.

The prize for the best oral presentation was awarded to Jessica Green for her research into preventing intestinal blockages in cystic fibrosis patients.

Meanwhile Will Woods won the best poster award for his work on using chick embryos as models for spinal cord injury research.


The initiative is one of several organised by the NSMI in partnership with Keele University and the University Hospital of the North Midlands NHS Trust.

It has also collaborated with the trust to organise their annual Firelighter awards, taking place for the second time  in spring 2018.

Staff from all over the UHNM will be invited to submit their ideas for new research projects, with the winners to be chosen in a Dragon’s Den-style event.

The Institute is currently considering applications for its next round of pump-priming grants to kickstart new research projects, with the winners due to be announced in February.

ASPIRE is an Academy of Medical Sciences and Wellcome Trust-funded programme that helps medical students to engage with medical research.

It also supports a student-led research network and provides holiday bursaries for students to undertake summer research projects at Keele.