Bringing science to life online

Dr Matthew Campbell, Principal Investigator in Human Metabolism Picture: DAVID WOOD

SCIENTISTS at Sunderland are sharing their unique work and research to an online audience through one of the region’s major visitor attractions.

Since lockdown measures were introduced to the UK last March, the Life Science Centre in Newcastle, like all other venues, closed its doors to the public. However, still wanting to engage people in science, the team began producing creative online content. One of those experiences was Meet the Scientist – a series of short films from academics across the region promoting their work and research in a fun and accessible way.

One of those academics to recently feature on Meet the Scientist, is the University of Sunderland’s Dr Matthew Campbell, Principal Investigator in Human Metabolism in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing.

Dr Campbell, has published extensively in the area of diabetes and glucose regulation, and will talk about his research interest in physical activity. 

He said: “As a researcher with an interest in exercise and physical activity, a common question that I’m often asked is ‘how little is enough?’ or to put it another way ‘what is the minimum amount of exercise I need to do in order to see some benefit?’. This is exactly the question that I am trying to answer in this Meet the Scientist video. I will be discussing recent advances in our understanding about how exercise impacts our body and how even a little exercise is better than none. I will also be discussing why some people benefit from exercise more than others and why a one size fits all approach to exercise prescription isn’t necessarily the best approach.”

Commenting on the University of Sunderland’s research impact, Dr Campbell added: “Our programmes of research are dedicated to improving people’s health, so naturally we are used to involving people as participants in research. However, we also heavily embed public involvement throughout the research life-cycle, particularly in the design and dissemination of our work. Engaging people, communities and societies in what we do provides an opportunity for the world outside of academia to explore the meaning of research and shape research agendas. It also serves to inform and inspire the next generation of students and researchers, some of which may start their career with us here in Sunderland.”

Ben Rutherford-Orrock, Public Engagement Officer at Life Science Centre, said: “These have been challenging times for everyone, but we wanted to bring the work that we do at the science centre into people’s livings room and help our visitors continue to feel part of the ‘Life’ community throughout lockdown.

“We have engaged with academics from universities across our region and from all fields of expertise, and the response has been fantastic.

“With Life’s Meet the Scientist videos, academics have been able to inspire children, adults and families in their subject area, research or job.”

He added: “It has been great to get Dr Campbell involved in the project, as we continue to engage with the University of Sunderland.”

As the UK continues to emerge from lockdown measures, Meet the Scientist will continue until the end of the month, and plans are being considered for its future application.

To read more about Dr Campbell’s own work click here

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