Jade Bentham successfully completed a unique Nuffield Research Placement, gaining six weeks’ experience of working alongside Dr. Jemma Kerns and Dr. Adam Taylor at Lancaster University over her summer break.
Alkaptonuria (AKU) is a genetic disorder of autosomal recessive inheritance. Patients with AKU are unable to produce an enzyme within the liver that is involved in the degradation of tyrosine, resulting in a build-up of homogentisic acid (HGA). AKU is linked to bone degradation, discolourment (ochronosis) of tissues, and early onset osteoarthritis (OA). Jade’s project explored ‘How does the chemistry of type I collagen in turkey leg tendons change when treated with homogentisic acid?’ to explore a model of AKU impact in the laboratory. This scientific study involved learning many new techniques via hands-on experience in the university laboratories. Jade also learnt how to write a scientific report and present her work in a scientific poster. Dr Kerns hopes Jade’s research will be included within a scientific article due to be published by the team at Lancaster University shortly.
In addition to her report Jade also successfully presented her research to a panel of judges as part of the Nuffield Celebration Event at the University of Manchester and she received her certificate for completion of her project at the event. In recognition of her exceptional work, the expert panel have selected Jade to put her project forward to the British Science Association for their CREST Award (Gold) and National Science and Engineering Competition. So watch this space! Well done Jade!