On 1 February over 200 delegates gathered at We The Curious in central Bristol to listen, debate, network, learn and collaborate at the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre Launch Symposium.
Dr Russell Hamilton formally opened the BRC, encouraging us to be ‘bold’, to ‘reach’ far and to ‘collaborate’. Russell, who is the former Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health and one of the architects of Biomedical Research Centres, said:
“It is my personal view that the Bristol BRC represents one of the most creative and innovative approaches in seeking to improve health by drawing on a wide spectrum of research.”
The sessions took delegates on a journey of discovery through the BRC research themes, from surgical innovation and digital mental health applications to public and patient involvement in research. Professor Andy Ness gave a fascinating plenary lecture on past, present and future clinical nutrition research in Bristol.
A real highlight of the day was the talks from their PhD students, who were confident and engaging, despite being just three months into their studies.
Throughout the day, artist Sam Church captured the talks and discussion in colourful illustrations. Artist Sofie Layton and her installation Making the Invisible Visible, which featured 3D printed hearts and a soundscape of a mother discussing her child’s heart transplant, were also a highlight of the day.
In the evening, the doors opened to the public and nearly 300 people listened to Gianni Angelini talk about his career as a heart surgeon and the research going on at Bristol to improve outcomes for cardiac surgery patients.
Nicola Morris, whose son Calum has already had four heart operations, talked about Calum’s experiences and showed a video of his last operation.
Surgeon Jane Blazeby then gave a talk on new surgical procedures and questioned how we test these and how we know whether a new procedure is better or safer.
Videos of the talks are available on their YouTube channel.