Our four-week summer school programme offers you the opportunity to explore in-depth global health topics and conduct your own research while based here in London.
The school will run from 12 July until 6 August 2021.
The summer school is a University Level 6 module worth 15 credits (3–4 US credits or 7.5 ECTS credits). It will help you understand some of the world’s major health challenges and how we can use research to improve diagnosis and treatment.
It is also possible to study as a non-credit bearing course (please indicate this on the application form).
Introduction to anatomy and dissection.
Global health challenges.
Immunology and infections (eg Covid-19, tuberculosis, malaria, HIV).
Non-communicable diseases (eg cardiovascular, cancer).
The application of ‘big data’ in research.
‘Omic’ technologies and their application.
The relevance of public engagement with research.
Visits to St George’s facilities including research labs, dissection room, Pathology Museum, archive and image resource facilities.
Careers development advice sessions.
You will have the opportunity to carry out a mini-research project with a St George’s researcher during the last two weeks of the Summer School. This experience will give you a flavour of some current research at St George’s while gaining experience in some molecular and cell biology techniques.
Dr Ferran Valderrama (Reader in Cancer Cell Biology) and Dr José Ignacio Saldaña (Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences) will offer projects on prostate cancer cell biology and regulation of lung immunity and inflammation respectively. You will have the chance to choose on which one you want to work.
Mini-research projects will be assessed via the written poster and oral presentation.
Mini-Research Project 1: Regulation of lung immunity and inflammation; the role of alveolar macrophages
Respiratory diseases, both acute (e.g. infections), or chronic (e.g. asthma and COPD) produce a significant burden on public health systems. Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that alter the balance between health and the pathology underlying these conditions is key to identify targets for therapy.
Within our lungs, we have alveolar macrophages; a group of highly specialised immune cells that stand as guardians of the delicate alveolar-blood interface. They are able to initiate protective immune responses against pathogens, whilst playing a very important role in resolving inflammation.
Access to healthy human alveolar macrophages for experimental studies is challenging both technically and ethically, therefore, to overcome this problem, in this project you will characterise an in vitro model of alveolar macrophage function that is close to physiology. We will then use this model to answer important questions about the ability of these cells to perform essential functions such phagocytosis and cytokine production.
This project will provide you with expertise in some of the pre-clinical laboratory techniques commonly employed in the field of immunology and inflammation such as cell culture, flow cytometry and immunoassays.
Mini-Research Project 2: Prostate Cancer
Three-dimensional (3D) culture methods, such as spheroids and organoids, allow cells to organize into structures that resemble the in vivo architecture. They have emerged as tractable cell-based methods that represent a physiologically relevant model for studying cellular features in a biologically relevant context.
Spheroids are 3D cultures derived from immortalized cell lines and a reliable cellular model able to mimic with certain degree the prostate tumour microenvironment. In recent years, the Valderrama and Cieza-Borrella research team has established a robust and reliable 3D morphogenesis assay that provides insights into prostate acinar organization in normal and pathological scenarios.
Students will participate in the characterization of our 3D spheroids at the structural and molecular level by identifying specific cellular markers (cell-cell contact proteins - E-cadherin, ZO-1 – and cytoskeletal markers - actin) in order to elucidate the organisation and polarity of the organoids-forming cells at consecutive time-points/days. In a second stage, we will analyze luminal-specific (androgen receptor, cytokeratin 8, cytokeratin 18) and basal-specific markers (cytokeratin 5) in order to confirm the presence of both lineages in the established cultures.
This project involves the application of a wide range of laboratory techniques including 3D cell culture procedures, immunofluorescence assays and high-end microscopy imaging. Students will be working under the supervision of Dr Ferran Valderrama and Dr Clara Cieza-Borrella, both principal investigators of the Prostate Cancer Research Group (Centre for Biomedical Education, St. George’s, University of London).
Direct face-to-face contact via lectures and seminars (25 hours), and interactive workshops and tutorials (20 hours).
Short structured research project with supporting tutorials (20 hours).
Self-directed study and analysis (50 hours).
Preparation for examination, and preparation of structured research project presentation and write-up (150 hours).
At-a-glance indicative timetable
The schedule shown gives a flavour of the Summer School daily structure.
Over the first 2 weeks taught sessions will generally be scheduled in the mornings from 10 am, with interactive group sessions, visits and activities in the afternoons, and “Keynote” talks and social activities in the evenings.
The laboratory mini-research project is the focus of the third week, continuing into the final week, which also includes the poster presentation sessions and written examination.
Details of academic sessions and social activities will be confirmed before the start of the Summer School and may be subject to change.
Download the indicative timetable (PDF).
Sunday 11 July – St George’s orientation trail
If you have arrived ahead of the start of the programme, join us for an orientation journey around Tooting and learn about the history of St. George’s University and Hospital.
We will be meeting outside the Marks and Spencer shop outside the main entrance to St George’s Hospital – Grosvenor Wing (see Campus Maps at the end of the Handbook).
Monday 12 July – Induction Day
The induction day will start at 9.30 and will include:
Before you arrive, you will receive an email giving directions and information about what to expect on your first day. We will organise your registration on the programme and production of Identity/Access cards. In this guide we have included maps of the university and teaching rooms. Please use these maps to help direct you to your teaching rooms.
Welcome and Introduction to the Frontiers in Human Health Programme
In these sessions we will introduce you to St. George’s University and the programme, as well as demonstrating how you can use Canvas – our online virtual learning environment. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of the members of the Frontiers in Human Health course team.
Food and drinks will be provided as you get to know your fellow students.
Health and Safety
This talk will cover the fundamental aspects of our health and safety regulations. This session will cover risk assessment, the need for supervision in labs, the importance of students reporting any concerns and fire awareness.
Staff will show you around the St. George’s University and Hospital site including important features such as our library, coffee shops and restaurants as well as the location of teaching rooms.
Welcome from the Principal
St. George’s Principal, Professor Jenny Higham will extend a warm personal welcome and stay on to meet you at the social event that follows.
Welcome Social Event
Join us in our Student’s Union bar for drinks, refreshments and an opportunity to chat to some of the programme team.