A busy and successful open day was held in the West Wing atrium at the John Radcliffe Hospital on 18 March. The event was hosted by the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (OxBRC) which funds and supports patient-centred research. There were short talks, posters and interactive displays by 14 research themes.
What appeared to be a smoothie bar on one floor was actually the Genetics research theme’s ‘science in the kitchen’ demonstration; how to extract DNA from strawberries. On another stand visitors could use an ultrasound machine to test density of water-filled surgical gloves. There was BMI, blood sugar and blood pressure testing and cuddly white blood cells to throw at the Hepatitis C virus. Local artist Emma Reynard had vials of scents for people to sniff as she recorded their comments and memories that the smells evoked.
The day was opened by Professor Keith Channon, Director of the OxBRC who emphasised that the event was about opening our doors and showing the public how much research goes into improving patient care. This research is carried out by doctors, nurses and therapists in the hospitals in partnership with the University of Oxford. The OxBRC is the funding stream and support function which is acting as a catalyst for the partnership to achieve even greater things for patient benefit, in the future.
Former Crystal Palace and England footballer, Geoff Thomas spoke about his personal experience of surviving leukaemia. He now raises money to fund research into better cures for blood diseases and encouraged everyone to get involved in research.
There were also cafe talks on safer pregnancy research, infection control and a secondary school session on ‘designer genes’.
The evening’s events were introduced by Dame Fiona Caldicott, Chairman of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals which led into a panel discussion on ageing and research. Eminent doctors from the fields of dementia, cardiac, haematology and stroke rehabilitation discussed their latest research projects and how this has a positive impact on the care their patients receive.
The Oxford Biomedical Research Centre is a partnership between the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Oxford. Its main aim is to enable clinical research and foster innovation to improve healthcare.
The OxBRC was founded in April 2007 through a competitively awarded grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which was established to carry forward the government’s research strategy ‘Best Research for Best Health’. The goal of the health research strategy is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research and establish the NHS as an internationally recognised centre of research excellence, by improving research, healthcare education and training.