Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology Dr Nelson Chong, and astrobiology researcher, Professor of Science Communication and author of ‘The Knowledge’ Lewis Dartnell were both speakers at the UK’s first New Scientist Live event.

The unique four day event, which took place at London’s ExCeL Centre, was opened by Astronaut Tim Peake who spoke about his recent experience of living and working in space.

Dr Nelson Chong from the University’s Department of Life Sciences featured in the Royal Society of Biology’s ‘Come and ask a Biologist’ talks. Dr Chong answered the question “What is a circadian clock and why is it important for my heart?” which received a lot of interest from guests at the event.

“It has been known for decades that cardiac events such as heart attacks, stroke, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death display a pattern in daily occurrence, with high incidences in the morning. However the mechanisms were unknown. We now know there are so called circadian clock systems in our body that precisely orchestrate how each cell work in an optimum fashion throughout the day. Disruption of these circadian clocks can lead to acute and chronic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and some forms of cancer. This, at least in part, contributes to the higher incidences of these disorders in shift workers. Therefore, the manipulation of the circadian system could be a new and novel avenue for therapeutic intervention,” says Dr Chong.

Professor of Science Communications at the University of Westminster Lewis Dartnell spoke on the final day of the event on ‘A Survivors Guide to the Apocalypse’. Professor Dartnell’s The Sunday Bestseller book - titled ‘The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World After and Apocalypse' - is all about the behind-the-scenes fundamentals of how our modern world works, including how things are made, and what key transitions enabled civilisation to progress across the centuries and millennia of history.

In his talk at New Scientist Live, Professor Dartnell looked at questions such as where to start in rebuilding civilisation from scratch, the best ways to restart agriculture and how we would generate power in the aftermath of an apocalypse.

New Scientist Editor, Sumit Paul-Choudhury said of the event: “This is where you’ll find the answers to all the biggest questions that we have – about the universe, about ourselves, about what tomorrow will be like. It’s all here.”

The University of Westminster’s Faculty of Science and Technology’s high-quality teaching is informed by our internationally recognised research, which encompasses a wide range of disciplines. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise a proportion of the research outputs in all subject areas were judged to be at world-leading and internationally excellent levels.

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