Final Year Students Published

We are quite used to seeing very high quality writing from our students, but every now and again, something exceptional comes up. Dr Andy Foey, Lecturer in Immunology, was lucky enough to have three exceptional pieces of work – he takes up the story:

Eleanor Lyon (left), Holly Hardy (middle) and Jennifer Harris (right) all took The Cellular Basis of Immunity as one of their final year module options. As part of the module coursework, they were asked to write a review of the literature on probiotics. Their work was so good that they were asked by Andy and Dr Jane Beal, the lecturers on the module and experts in probiotics, to combine their work into a review paper which was sent to the journal Nutrients. The review was accepted for publication after peer review and was published on the 29th of May. You can see the paper here (if you are accessing from outside of the University, you may not be able to access the full paper and the vagaries of copyright law do not allow me to put it here – sorry!).

Andy said “This review will stand the test of time with respect to the scientific rigour of probiotic immunomodulation and will be a valuable resource for both researchers and students alike“.

As you can see, the students were delighted. Jennifer says “Being given the opportunity to help write this review was most certainly a blessing in disguise; presenting itself as a challenge I thought would be unmanageable alongside my dissertation and final year commitments. However, despite moments of madness, foul language and hair-pulling, the long days and even longer evenings researching, drafting, editing and compiling this review were strangely enjoyable. The process of ploughing through the primary literature was eye-opening, not to mention complimentary to components of my immunology module and generally very interesting. Discussing our initial literature finds with each other, Holly, Eleanor and myself quickly established what bits were “our babies”, allowing us to split up the rather daunting writing task ahead of us, into nice bitesize pieces. To start with the review felt like just another essay assignment, but knowing this was supposed to be of a publishable standard was personally extremely daunting. However, over the number of drafts that were written, I was seeing a definite improvement in my ability to critically analyse the literature and write in a clear and concise manner. Of course the contributions we all made were not going to be perfect, after all we’re not experts, but with time I felt better about the quality of work we were contributing. Seeing this improvement in my writing and having juggled my academic commitments over the time course of this review project gave me real confidence in my scientific abilities, gave me drive to keep going through exam revision and in fact left me looking forward to writing more publications in the future! Above all, thanks really must be given to Dr. Andy Foey for giving us this opportunity and putting this publication together to the standard that it is.

Full reference to the paper: Hardy H, Harris J, Lyon E, Beal J, Foey AD. Probiotics, Prebiotics and Immunomodulation of Gut Mucosal Defences: Homeostasis and Immunopathology. Nutrients. 2013; 5(6):1869-1912.