2015 Research Expo

The inaugural St Edmund Hall Research Expo took place on the afternoon of Saturday 28 February 2015. It was a celebration of the great diversity of research currently being undertaken at the College, and was an opportunity for members of the three common rooms and staff to interact and find out more and engage with colleagues across all disciplines.

Keynote Speaker

Terry Jones (Honorary Fellow and alumnus of St Edmund Hall; screenwriter, actor, film director and author) spoke about his research on the Ellesmere Manuscript, a famous fifteenth-century illuminated manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. He discussed his findings after studying the manuscript under the microscope and made the claim that it has been censored: “the pilgrims have been tampered with!”

Can you control a ball with your brain waves? An interactive experiment in the Lab at the Research Expo
Mariana Rossi giving a Teddy Talk in the Old Library at the 2015 Research Expo
Dr Mariana Rossi giving her Teddy Talk in the Old Library

Podcasts of the Expo talks are available online, on our YouTube channel and the University’s podcasting site. In six interdisciplinary sessions, St Edmund Hall academics and postgraduate students were challenged to explain an area of their research to a non-specialist audience, in just twelve minutes!

You can watch the following talks:

Dr Hussein Al-MossawiColouring-in for adults

Professor Roger BensonWhat can dinosaurs tell us about evolution?

Dr Dina BisharaTrade Unions and North Africa’s Arab Spring

Philip ChadwickThe ethics of rail travel; or, what George Eliot can teach us about HS2

Dr Allison DaleyEarth’s earliest super predators

Dr Michael DeeClimate Change and the fall of the Pyramid Age of Egypt

Professor Claire EdwardsCancer: why it’s bad to the bone

Alexandra Greenfield & Vanessa LeeLost in Translation? Experiencing the body on stage and screen

Professor Keith GullSeeing the Invisible in Health and Disease

Professor Heidi Johansen-BergWatching the Brain Change

Professor Andrew KahnA digital database of the correspondence of Catherine the Great of Russia

Dr Dominik KarosWho killed ‘Dead Meat’ Thompson?

Dr Alex LloydHow to spot a liar in literature

Professor Sergio Lozano-PerezLooking at atoms to understand mega-structures’ structural integrity

Dr Tom MacFaulShakespeare’s animals

Ilona MostipanWhat debt management strategies do OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries follow?

Professor Oliver RiordanThe Eternity Puzzle

Ines RombachCurrent practice in preventing and handling missing data alongside clinical trials: are we doing well?

Dr Mariana RossiCan we predict the structure of matter?

Professor Charlotte StaggThe stimulated brain

Trent TaylorRethinking the American Revolution and the US Founding Myth

Professor Richard WalkerPast and Future Earthquake Hazard in Asia

Julianne WilliamsPromoting nutrition through schools in a lower middle income country, Sri Lanka

A brain stimulation demonstration in the Lab at the 2015 Research Expo
A demonstration of brain stimulation

The Doctorow Hall was transformed into the Lab: a fascinating space full of demonstrations, displays and interactive experiments.

Some of the highlights included:

Stimulating Minds: Dr Charlie Stagg

Charlie and her team use non-invasive brain stimulation methods such as magnetic pulses and small electric currents, to drive learning and plasticity in the brain.  They showed the kit they use and explained how these research approaches are beginning to make a real difference for patients, and gave demonstrations of brain stimulation.

Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit: Dr Mike Dee

An explanation of the Unit’s work, which includes providing radiocarbon dating for archaeological and environmental research, and some of their high-profile cases: the Shroud of Turin, Richard III, Neanderthals, mammoths and ancient Egypt.

The study of cancer and bone: Professor Claire Edwards

Assisted by a skeleton, some bones, microscopes and a laptop, the team demonstrated how they study bone cancer.

Brain Plasticity in Action: Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg

Heidi and her colleagues explained the study of brain plasticity to understand how our lifestyle affects our brain, how the brain recovers after stroke, and how the brain changes after amputation. Can you control a ball with your brain waves? Can we retrain attention after stroke? What is a phantom hand? Can physical exercise change your brain?

Exercise, Oxygen and the Heart: Dr Samira Lakhal-Littleton

The team showed how they look at the effects of exercise and hypoxia status on the cardiac function.

The Salon at the 2015 Research Expo, seen from above

Visitors were invited to enter the Salon (more usually known as the Old Dining Hall…) to explore and take part in a diverse variety of research-related activities from the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Some of the highlights included:

  • How were manuscripts written and produced in the 15th century? St Edmund Hall’s medievalists Professor Henrike Lähnemann, Charlotte Cooper and Gareth Evans showcased the material side of medieval text production and gave visitors the opportunity to try their hand at some Gothic writing.
  • Book recommendations for your holiday reading
  • Advice on getting published
  • A game of ‘Guess the Author’
  • Untranslatable words: to get you thinking in a foreign language
  • Consultations with our specialist Poetry Doctor, Professor Lucy Newlyn, to have a poem chosen just for you
  • A fifteenth-century poetic and historical puzzle
  • Traces in the Archives: Rob Petre, the Hall’s Archivist, acted as guide through a small selection of items from college records relating to poetry, plays and prominent Aularians
  • Displays of research: from the Social Sciences, as well as Hall Humanities research from the Library’s Aularian collection.
A student adding to the collaborative art straws installation in the Studio
A student adding to the collaborative art straws installation in the Studio

The Pontigny Room was used as an exhibition space to showcase the talents of some of the College’s undergraduate Fine Artists. There was a wide range of media on display, including photography, painting and installations.

The following artists took part:

  • Oliver Bass (2nd year) – painting
  • Wai Chung (1st year) – photographs
  • Mayya Gulieva (1st year) – installation
  • Joseph Mackay (3rd year) – photographs
  • Ruth Miller (1st year) – painting
  • Eleanor Minney (2nd year) – installation
  • Eleanor Pryer (3rd year) – drawing.

Visitors were also invited to contribute to the Expo’s own piece of art – an installation made from red and yellow straws that developed over the course of the event.