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WorldCUR-BCUR 2023 - Abstract Writing Examples

(Re)framing Foraging as a Performance of Resistance: Trespass and Land Access

The recent global developments in the climate emergency have demanded a transformative change in the way we conceptualise and interact with our environment and food systems if we are to create a sustainable and liveable future. (Re)framing Foraging as a Performance of Resistance situates itself in the heart of this discussion offering a radical intervention to reconsider how we can transition towards a collective subjectivity and just food system praxis within the UK paradigm. Using Baz Kerhsaw’s Theatre Ecology as its theoretical framework, this research seeks to position foraging within performance theory and environmental ecology to understand how reframing it as a performance and act of resistance gives rise to this transitional possibility. I argue that in framing foraging as performative act it allows for a critical reflection of social, political, and economic forces which shape the ways in which we are permitted to engage and exist within environments, and subsequently the way in which foraging may resist these forces. Through discussions of land access rights, environmental protest, food poverty and industrialised production, this research seeks to offer a repositioning of the self in relation to the natural world by (re)framing foraging as a performance of resistance.

Diagnostic tool for the detection of colon cancer

Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the world, with over 1.80 million cases and it is the 2nd deadliest with 862,000 deaths. Despite the survival rate upon detection in the early-localized stage being significantly higher than if detected in the later stages, the World Health Organization states that up to 56% of the diagnosis of colon cancer is in the regional/distant stages. Recent scientific literature highlights a correlation between colon cancer and the presence of colibactin in patients’ faeces. Colibactin is produced by Escherichia coli which is present in the colon of one in five people. We will develop a better diagnostic tool for the detection of colon cancer that will rely on modifying a DNA-binding protein. By engineering the transcriptional repressor MmfR of the TetR family, the binding of colibactin will prevent the binding of our new protein to DNA. We will model at first the complex to modify in silico the ligand-binding pocket of MmfR to ensure it accommodates colibactin instead of its native ligand. Then, specific amino acids will be identified which will be mutated in the MmfR protein. Finally, the engineered proteins will be overproduced and isolated. We expect those engineered proteins to be accurate and precise biosensors for colibactin. The research will be shaped by human practices so that the created diagnostic tool is relevant to today’s needs.

Why do medical students refuse the influenza vaccine and what can be done to improve vaccination rates?

The annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all frontline healthcare workers in the UK and is a crucial way of reducing mortality for vulnerable patient groups. However, to date the UK government has never explicitly monitored influenza vaccine uptake in medical students. This is important to ascertain, as students regularly move between clinical areas and are both a perfect vector for the spread of influenza and at an increased risk of contracting influenza themselves. This service evaluation collected data about medical student uptake of influenza vaccination in one UK medical school. 251 students at different course stages completed questionnaires, answering questions on vaccination status and Likert-scale ‘belief’ questions to assess the subjective reasons behind vaccine refusal. The results revealed a substantial difference between year group cohorts (approximately 20%), with older cohorts having a significantly lower vaccination rate than younger cohorts. Furthermore, two significant negative predictors of vaccination were found (p<0.001), related to scepticism over the effectiveness of the vaccine and lack of convenient access to the vaccination itself. Results indicated that integrating information about the influenza vaccine into the curriculum would reduce lack of knowledge over the efficacy of the vaccine. Furthermore, the centralisation of vaccination programmes at mandatory university-based learning events would mitigate against the problem of diversity of vaccination locations and lack of central accountability. The results of this service evaluation provide significant predictors of vaccination status for medical students and potential occupational health interventions to improve vaccine uptake in this group. This abstract’s introduction addresses the WHY and situates the research project within the ‘surge of activism’ across Europe.

Lifting the Ban for Better Labour Market Outcomes: How the Ban on Asylum Seekers Working Impacts the Labour Market Outcomes of Refugees in the UK

Refugees and asylum seekers are one of the most marginalised populations in the UK, subject to intersectional inequalities in the labour market. In the UK, asylum seekers have to wait twelve months before they are legally allowed to access work. The research question of this paper asks: ‘how does the UK’s ban on asylum seekers working impact the labour market outcomes of refugees in the UK?’. The paper uniquely utilises a mixed-methods approach of secondary quantitative data on refugee labour market outcomes from the 2019 Labour Force Survey and primary qualitative interview data from professionals in refugee employment to answer the research question. Results are then analysed thematically based on pre-existing themes in the literature and derived themes from the interview transcripts. My study finds that the UK’s ban on asylum seekers working negatively impacts the labour market outcomes of refugees in the UK, making a case for the ban to be lifted or reduced in length. This paper addresses a knowledge gap in the literature by analysing the UK labour market outcomes of all refugees in relation to the ban rather than those of a specific profession (e.g., refugee doctors), as well as a methodological gap by uniquely utilising a mixed-methods approach to analyse the labour market outcomes of refugees in the UK. The paper is highly relevant to migration, inequalities and the sustainable development agenda, with direct implications for SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.