Episode 3: Exercise in a State of Lockdown

So far in the series, we’ve been focused very much on the bio-medical aspects of Bristol’s research response to coronavirus. In this episode, we take a look at something slightly different – public policy, exercise and physical activity in a state of lockdown.

I was delighted to have as my guest Dr Charlie Foster OBE, Reader in Physical Activity and Public Health at our School for Policy Studies.

Charlie chairs the UK Chief Medical Officer’s Expert Committee for Physical Activity and has advised Government on physical exercise during the lockdown.

In this conversation, we discuss why there have been different approaches to daily exercise in lockdown between different countries. We also discuss what evidence has been used to inform advice to government and some of the fascinating research questions Charlie and his colleagues are now exploring in light of the pandemic.

During the conversation, Charlie mentions a series of excellent (Bristol validated) resources for exercise and physical activity that could be useful for anyone unable to leave the home. You can find these resources here.


Episode 2: The Search for a Vaccine

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, scientists around the world are working incredibly hard to develop a vaccine and, ultimately, defeat the virus.

For this second episode in the series, I was delighted to be joined by Professor Imre Berger – Director of the University’s Max Planck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology.

Imre and his team work to research and develop new approaches to DNA delivery and genome engineering. Within weeks of COVID-19’s genetic sequence being made available, the team decided to re-direct their work towards the development of a very different kind of (potential) coronavirus vaccine.

In this episode, Imre tells me about the background to his vaccine work (including the shock admission that he is not, in fact, a vacinologist), describes how his team’s method for vaccine development differs from other approaches underway, and sets out the process for moving towards human trial of his team’s candidate vaccine.

Finally, Imre shares some insights on his team’s approach to working on campus during a state of social distancing.

I hope you find the conversation as interesting and enlightening as I did, and thanks to Imre for taking the time to join me.

Episode 1: Test, Test, Test

In this first episode of the Digital Fireside Talks, I was joined by Adam Finn – Professor of Paediatrics, director of the Bristol Children’s Vaccine Centre and chair of the World Health Organisation’s European Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

Most recently, Adam took on the role of leading Bristol UNCOVER – a group researchers united in their efforts to understand and combat the many health and societal challenges raised by COVID-19.

Adam talks about the origins and work of Bristol UNCOVER, his own research into testing for COVID-19, the challenges associated with the two main testing modalities, and Bristol’s involvement in one of only four global human trials of a vaccine which could protect against COVID-19.

My thanks to Adam for taking time out from his hectic schedule to take part.