Aidan Michaels, a first year CDT student, is particularly passionate about two things; contributing towards research into cancer treatments and improving the public’s understanding of this scientific research.
For his PhD project, he is investigating the conditions required for cancer cells to make the energy they need to survive. Alongside his research, he has begun to write and record a podcast; Radio Nuclear. The podcast aims to engage people outside of this specialty of scientific research – molecular imaging and nuclear medicine. The first episode introduces the fundamental concepts of radiation (I.e., what it is, where it comes from and how it is used in medical imaging to detect and treat disease) by answering questions posed by friends via social media.
Aidan said “I created the podcast because I realised that people from my age to my grandparents age have a large disconnect with science, past what they learned at school, as it was often inaccessible at that age or boring. To me, science is integral to human survival and development, as evidenced with the events going on presently. The aim of the podcast is to make medically-driven research more accessible to those who are interested (which I’m sure will be an increasing number of people after the coronavirus outbreak), whilst sharing the work that our School (Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences) is producing. This not only improves the public’s view of research institutions but also familiarises people with medical practices that they may encounter in their lifetime.”
Aidan created this podcast for his final assessment as part of the Public Engagement module during his Masters in Research at the CDT. His is the first cohort of Masters Students to complete this new module. It aims to give students an understanding of the value of public engagement and to equip them with the knowledge and tools required to develop, deliver and evaluate effective public engagement projects.
Aidan reflected that he “enjoyed the creative aspect of making a podcast”, as “often us scientists don’t get much of an opportunity to be artsy other than making a powerpoint presentation look as pretty as possible”. He said, “I learnt that breaking complex science into lay language is challenging but I feel I have done it well. It also ensures that I have to ‘know my stuff’, which will ultimately help in the long run for my PhD.”
Aidan plans to continue the podcast beyond the module. He aims to create a series with his fellow students to engage listeners around the world with research at the CDT.
Stay tuned for more podcasts coming soon.