The Sheffield Hallam Postgraduate Research (PGR) Showcase is taking place at City Campus on Friday 16 June 2023. Further details are on the Event page

Verbal Presentations 10:15 – 11:30

Sarah Boyce (I2RI) – Antimicrobial Sol-Gel: A New Way Of Preventing Infections After Joint Replacement Surgery

Bio: After studying BSc (Hons) Genetics and Microbiology at The University of Sheffield, Sarah embarked on her Science teaching career with a PGCE at Sheffield Hallam University, spending 12 years teaching in Rotherham and Barnsley schools.

She returned to Sheffield Hallam University in 2019 to study MSc Biomedical Science and is now in her second year of PhD study in the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre, working with a novel antimicrobial sol-gel device coating. She was recently awarded AFHEA status and is a Graduate Teaching Assistant and active STEM Ambassador.

Abstract: Joint replacements are amongst the most successful of all surgeries, with more than 250,000 performed annually in the UK. However, joint infections occur after 1-3% of procedures. The joint implant surface gives bacteria and fungi an ideal niche to colonize and form a community embedded in a protective, slimy, self-produced matrix known as a biofilm, making these devastating infections a significant treatment challenge.

Altering implant surfaces to prevent microbial growth is currently a major focus in research, for example the use of antimicrobial coatings. At SHU, a new silica based, sol-gel implant device coating has been developed which is a promising antimicrobial delivery method to prevent joint infections.

In this research, the coating’s performance was evaluated by assessing antimicrobial activity and biofilm reduction against relevant bacteria associated with joint infections. Toxicity was assessed using primary bovine bone cells (osteoblasts) grown in the presence of sol-gel loaded with antibiotics. Osteoblasts and human bone marrow derived stem cells were grown directly on the sol-gel, these were visualised with fluorescent microscopy to assess any changes in cell spread or morphology over time.

Future work includes analysing markers to assess whether cells behave typically when grown in contact with the coating, and also evaluating it’s performance and integration in a 3D bone cell culture model. This model will reduce the need for animal experimentation, in addition to more accurately mimicking conditions in the human body.

Findings so far are promising: the sol-gel coating has shown low toxicity against human cells, strong biofilm reducing activity and antimicrobial activity comparable to treatment with antibiotics alone. These indicate its potential as a local antimicrobial delivery system to prevent joint infections, reducing the burden on healthcare and patient wellbeing.

Anita Rutendo Chonzi (HRI) – Exploring people living with dementia and care partners’ perceptions of sensory gardens

Bio: My name is Anita Chonzi doing a full-time PhD in Health, wellbeing, and Life Sciences. I have just commenced 3rd year of my studies. I am interested in the area of multi-sensory stimulation through gardens and the use of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology.

Abstract: Dementia is a syndrome in which there is a progressive decline in multiple areas of cognitive function, including memory loss, reasoning, communication skills, and conducting day-to-day activities. Greater efforts are needed to improve the well-being of people living with dementia, by promoting multisensory stimulation through non-pharmacological interventions . Natural environments such as gardens have been reported to support residents’ health and well-being through sensory stimulation. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions of sensory gardens from the lived experiences of people living with dementia and their care partners, to understand the impact on well-being and to explore any benefits or challenges to the use of sensory gardens . For this reason, this study seeks to answer the following questions: to what extent, if any, do the perceptions and experiences of sensory gardens impact people living with dementia and their care partners? The current study uses a qualitative research method with an exploratory and interpretive design and adopted an Interpretive Phenomenology Analysis (IPA), approach to gain deeper insights into users’ perceptions through first-person’s experiences. In society, there will be the potential to inform practice through the development of good practice guidelines, appreciation of co-production and at the same time increasing the visibility of people living with dementia within theoretical literature. Finally, the study might lay a foundation for a change in policy by presenting the perceptions to inform care home organisations, local councils, and other service organisations on how to develop sensory gardens to promote well-being.

Abubakar Orisankoko (SERI) – Intelligent technologies and regulatory regime: Examining the fitness of hybrid research methodology in the legislation process

Bio: Abubakar Orisankoko is a legal practitioner, researcher, and academic. He is a specialist in Emerging Technology Law, Data Protection Law, Islamic FinTech, and Islamic Mortgage Finance. He is currently a PhD student at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. His research is in the area of Data Protection law and Technology Singularity law. He has published in both local and international reputable peer-reviewed journals. He is a Member of the Law Society UK, Lawyer – Solicitors Regulation Authority UK, a Member of the Nigerian Bar Association, Nigeria, Barrister & Solicitor (BL) of the The Council of Legal Education, Nigeria, Member of the Internet Society, London (International, UK Chapter), Member – Internet Society, Nigeria, and Member of the Open Rights Group, London.

Abstract: Modernity has forced a new dimension on man through technological innovations that ease his affairs and ways of business delivery. Artificial Intelligence and Technological Singularity are particularly the main case studies in focus. These technologies are smart, and that characteristic tends to threaten the future of man in many ways. So, in order to avert this occurrence, legislation has been deployed to ethically regulate technologies. However, using the empirical research method, this research questions the extent to which the typical legislation procedure has accomplished the goal of fairness across the sections of Inventors, Users, and the State. Consequently, it is argued that for smart technologies to be caused to function responsibly, the combination of both doctrinal and empirical research methodology guarantees the reliability of the regulatory control that could truly serve the collective interest, efficiently and effectively.

Stuart Estrella-Pinto (SERI) Living in the Moment – The Value of Immediacy and Acceptance within the PGR Experience

Bio: I first studied and worked as an environmental scientist, involved in projects within the UK and abroad. In the early 2000s, I decided to qualify as a Counsellor, and about ten years later, I gradually switched careers and have now worked as a professional Counsellor within the NHS, several universities, charities and privately. I am currently researching Walk and Talk Therapy, allowing me to combine my knowledge and skills from both careers.

Abstract: Most people have heard the adage that the present is all that exists and, therefore, true happiness lies in living in the moment, carefree from the worries of the past and the future. Yet, if the answer were so simple and widely known, why are more of us not blissfully living our lives? Indeed, for those of us actively engaged with research, how can we escape ideas about the future and only focus on the present?

This talk focuses on reflections about being a researcher from the perspective of both immediacy and acceptance to argue that both are important to help us manage our lives. These ideas will be explored from a philosophical and psychological perspective, drawing on the speaker’s experiences as a mature researcher and practising Counsellor. The aim is to introduce some established ideas about how we make sense of the world and how this might influence our attitudes to our research and within our personal lives.