Here at St George’s, we have never shied away from the biggest discussions. In an unprecedented time for education and research, the University has stepped forward and led the debate on major topics, from tackling the pandemic to school examinations.
Our staff and students have represented the University in local, national and international news, showcasing our passions for knowledge sharing and improving health.
St George’s on beating the pandemic
As the UK’s specialist health university, we have been called upon on numerous occasions to share our expertise on the Covid-19 pandemic. Having been recognised as running more urgent public health studies into Covid-19 research than any other institution in the country, our extraordinary researchers have helped the nation get to grips with the pandemic.
Latest vaccine developments
The Vaccine Institute at St George’s has run studies assessing the safety and efficacy of multiple Covid-19 vaccines, including the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Imperial vaccines, as well as leading the UK Novavax vaccine trial. Vaccinating more than 1,100 participants in trials, the University has established itself as a critical player in working to overcome the pandemic. As such, director of the Vaccine Institute, Professor Paul Heath has been asked to explain the latest vaccine developments on a global scale. When the results from the Novavax Phase 3 trial were announced in January 2021, Professor Heath was interviewed by Today on BBC Radio 4, setting the agenda for the rest of the day across news outlets and reaching audiences of hundreds of millions worldwide.
Understanding the immune response
The University has led on research related to prevention, treatment and diagnosis of Covid-19 throughout the pandemic.
In the first wave of the pandemic, our researchers, including Professor Sanjeev Krishna paved the way for understanding the body’s immune response to Covid-19 infection, with the initial results from a study featuring in national news (Daily Mail, Sun, Telegraph, Independent).
Providing clinical guidance
Meanwhile, Dr Mohammad Razai, academic clinical fellow in primary care from the Population Health Research Institute has made significant progress helping clinicians to look after patients during the pandemic, while addressing inequalities in healthcare.
From designing an online course to support GPs with managing Covid-19 patients, to writing multiple pieces for The BMJ on ethnic disparities caused by coronavirus, Dr Razai has played a key role in shaping responses to the pandemic.
Last year, he was a deserved winner of a General Practice Award as GP Trainee of the Year.
On the frontline
As well as research, many of our staff sprang into action onto the Covid-19 frontline.
Active clinicians and allied health professionals put themselves forward in hospitals and clinics around London to tackle the growing waves. In addition to many of our staff working in St George’s Hospital and other local hospitals, our experts were also asked to assist with the new Nightingale Hospital in East London.
Dr Jackie McRae from the School of Allied Health, Midwifery and Social Care, took on a role as clinical lead speech and language therapist at the new facility, helping patients to recover throat function.
Meanwhile, Zoë Hayman, senior lecturer in Paramedic Science and Practice was a part of the Education Team at the hospital, training staff to work in an intensive care unit.
St George’s in powerful documentaries
Dr Elisabetta Groppelli, has become a familiar face and voice to many over the course of the pandemic. Appearing on the Channel 4 special documentary Can Science Beat the Virus, alongside the country’s top experts, including a Nobel Prize winner, Dr Groppelli shared her views without hesitation, helping viewers to understand the biology of the newly discovered virus.
After appearing in the documentary, she has since featured in hundreds of broadcasts on UK TV and radio. From sharing her past experiences tackling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, to answering children’s questions on Newsround, Dr Groppelli has been a consistent and reassuring voice for many throughout the pandemic.
Investigating sudden deaths
In April 2021, our experts in cardiology and pathology featured in the BBC Three documentary Sudden Death: My Sister’s Silent Killer. Professors Elijah Behr and Mary Sheppard were interviewed as part of the programme, helping teenager Patrick to understand the science behind his sister Lauren’s sudden and unexpected death. As the UK’s primary site for investigating deaths in the young caused by sudden cardiac arrests, the team were able to explain some of the possible causes behind what happened.
The documentary series Baby Surgeons: Delivering Miracles, aired on Channel 4 in Spring 2021. Featuring St George’s staff and alumni on the fetal medicine, neonatal and maternity units at St George’s Hospital, the programme followed the stories of women with rare and complex pregnancies. In the second episode, Professor Asma Khalil, Consultant Obstetrician and Multiple Births Lead at the hospital and Honorary Professor of Obstetrics and Maternal Medicine at the University, performed a procedure that had only been carried out once before at St George’s on a baby with amniotic band syndrome.
St George's on education
Examinations during a pandemic
Summer examinations in 2020 were a difficult time for many students in their final year of A-levels, with uncertainty around how students would be assessed and results would be graded. During this period, our Principal, Professor Jenny Higham, appeared on national television to discuss the issues this would present for medical schools and university courses for years to come. Following A-Level results day and Clearing and Adjustment, we were proud to welcome nearly 300 additional students to St George’s to study from September 2020.
St George’s students in the spotlight
As well as our research and education staff voicing their opinions on key issues, our students have also stepped up to demonstrate their successes and achievements in the last year.
Second year students on our Clinical Pharmacology course helped the University get back on track in the face of the pandemic by running our asymptomatic testing centre.
Gaining experience across a range of roles, including operations, communications and results analysis, the students were involved with everything from organising training and rotas to management of onsite teams and social media accounts, with the story being covered by local news.
Clinical pharmacology student, Charlotte, said: “Having the opportunity to work at the asymptomatic testing centre has allowed me to develop a range of new skills and afforded me a unique experience to help aid the UK’s plan for the safe return of university students.”
Mind the Gap
One student who made the news across six continents was Malone Mukwende, currently in his third year studying medicine. Having noticed the discrepancies and inequalities in how skin conditions were taught and diagnosed on black and brown skin, Malone developed a handbook to help educate clinicians. Called Mind The Gap, the handbook was featured in news stories around the globe, with Malone appearing on TV interviews on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as being tweeted by actress Lupita Nyong’o.
Students on the frontline
Many of our students also put themselves on the line during the pandemic, volunteering on hospital wards and helping out at testing and vaccine centres. From the first wave and throughout, some of our most dedicated students took the time to commit themselves to helping find a way out of the pandemic, balancing their volunteering with their studies. A group of such students were interviewed by radio station, LBC, detailing the experiences they went through on the frontline and what motivated them to help the cause.
Conquer Clearing at St George’s
As the UK’s specialist health university, St George’s offers a range of undergraduate courses in healthcare, medicine and science.
If you’re looking to find a place on a course for September 2021, Clearing and Adjustment is a great opportunity to find a course option that is right for you.
Visit our Clearing Hub to learn more and to register for updates about the Clearing process at St George’s.