IF Oxford is an annual science and ideas festival, taking place in locations across the city.
At the Oxford Town Hall on Sunday 14 October, researchers from the Transplantation Research Immunology Group (TRIG) took visitors of all ages on an interactive journey.
In TRIG, the scientists try to find new ways to help transplants live longer by changing the balance of the body's immune system. Their interactive demonstration 'The heroes and villains in transplantation - Can you sort them out?' showed how an upcoming clinical trial, called The TWO Study, will sort 'good' protective cells from 'bad' cells that cause transplant rejection and how this might help save lives.
The activity was created by Dr Matthew Brook, a NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in The TWO Study. The trial is led by TRIG and aims to assess the feasibility of reducing immunosuppression in renal transplant recipients with the use of regulatory T cells (Treg).
Dr Brook commented: 'IF Oxford was a fantastic experience for all of those who took part. Explaining our work and the science behind it to all ages of the general public took us far away from our typical audience. We had non-stop interest throughout the day and lots of questions and positive feedback from people of all ages both regarding the nature of our work and the way we presented it. Overall, I hope, a very rewarding experience for all who took part and my thanks to everyone who helped to make the day such a success.'
On the following Sunday at The Oxford Academy, members from the Oxford Transplant Centre (The COPE Consortium and QUOD) showcased the research they are doing into making more organs useful for transplant. Their cutting-edge research will help close the critical gap between supply and demand in organ transplant.
The moment we mentioned that we were working on organ transplant research, people's eyes lit up - Mr Timothy Boland, Transplant Research Project Manager
Visitors saw an organ perfusion machine, learnt about the power of new technologies in organ preservation, and were able to practice taking biopsies using fruit instead of organs whilst the team explained how taking such biopsies throughout the transplant process enables their research.
Mr Timothy Boland, Transplant Research Project Manager at NDS, said: 'The moment we mentioned that we were working on organ transplant research, people’s eyes lit up. Several visitors had loved ones who had transplants or were on the waiting list. So not only did our visitors benefit from learning about the research, but we benefitted from the personal connection with people who will be helped by what we do.'