Environmental (eDNA)

What is eDNA?

The term environmental DNA or eDNA refers to traces of DNA left behind within a habitat by living organisms that can sampled and analysed in order to obtain a better picture of biodiversity.  Terrestrial and aquatic organisms are constantly shedding their skins, hair, body fluids and scales; they also constantly die, and this leaves a huge amount of DNA within any environment.  Simply sampling soil, water or sediment reveals the genetic material (DNA sequences) that is left behind, which can be amplified by polymerise chain reaction (PCR) and analysed to determine the species it belongs to.  The identification of species depends on reliable reference to DNA sequences, especially sequences from mitochondrial, chloroplasts and rRNA genes.

One issue that eDNA can monitor is the important impact of non-native or invasive species are having on local habitat or ecosystem.  Eventually the idea is to progress the technology so that metagenomics surveys of complete ecosystems can be analysed, providing information on how changes are occurring over time. The process of eDNA sampling has proved particularly effective in aquatic environments and was used to collect samples for the monitoring of the Great Crested Newt – Triturus cristatus  – in the UK.

The technique has various advantages over traditional sampling techniques in that it is potentially cheaper, more efficient and can more easily identify rare or cryptic species, as opposed to actually finding them. It also has drawbacks, namely, it can produce false positives from sequences of DNA that may have been dragged into an area by other organisms, and it does not allow you to tell how many species are dead or alive, or their development stage and cannot be precise about the numbers of organisms present, unlike more physical forms of sampling.

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John Dalton

Head of Science

ULAS | Easter Apprenticeship Conference 2017

ULAS invites you to the London live Easter Apprenticeship Conference 2017. Join leading employers across industries and discover what life is like in the world of work.

The event will reveal the exciting world of enterprise through hands-on learning with industry professionals. Experts in the field will lead panel discussions and practical workshops – instructing on preparation for their specific programmes and providing tips and advice on entering the business as a whole.

This insight event is designed to give you real contact time with employers – throughout the course of the day, you’ll have the exclusive chance to meet and network directly with the specialists. They will be looking to hire apprentices from those they meet on the day! This will be an interactive opportunity to strengthen your career prospects by gaining invaluable industry knowledge and experience.

The day includes:

  • A keynote welcome and address from ULAS and industry professionals;
  • Information on industry specific post-18 programmes and their recruitment processes;
  • Advice and insight from current apprentices on their journey so far;
  • Employability workshops and discussion groups including:- How to impress in interview: tips & skills
  • – How to make your CV stand out from the crowd
  • – How to master the art of networking
  • Plenty of opportunities to ask questions throughout the day.

NOTE: Check this space for more information to come on how to sign up for the Employability workshops. Make sure you sign up, as spaces for workshops are limited.

This is a free event, open to all Year 12, 13 and Level 3 students. There are limited places for this event so make sure to RSVP as soon as possible.
DRESS CODE: Smart / Smart Casual (no jeans!)
What to bring? Your current CV

*Important Note – Please Read*

For students to attend any of the ULAS Industry Insight Events your school/college must be signed up to ULAS (totally free to sign up) – if your school/college is not signed up please inform the person in charge of careers provision to email us at info@ulas.co.uk and we’ll take it from there.

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The 6 Cs of the National Health Service

The National Health Service in the UK is the world’s largest publically funded (i.e. through tax) health system. It was created after WW2 and was launched on the 5th July 1948 with three core principles:

  1. that it would meet the needs of everyone – from “cradle to grave”
  2. to be free at the point of delivery
  3. to be based on clinical need and NOT on the ability to pay

In 2016, the budget for the NHS was over £120 billion and in 2017 the NHS finds itself in a state of crisis, being overwhelmed with patients, lack of available beds and critical funding issues. It has become so bad that many hospitals recently declared major alerts as they failed to cope and patient safety was potentially at risk. The causes for this ongoing crisis are complex and various, but boil down to six key factors:

  1. UK has an ageing population
  2. Cuts in social care funding have caused delays in discharging patients (usually the elderly – bed locking)
  3. Difficulties in seeing your GP have resulted in more people going directly to A&E
  4. Rising costs in healthcare
  5. Lifestyle factors – e.g. drugs overdoses, excessive drinking, obesity and mental health issues
  6. Restructuring – in an attempt to make it more efficient, how the NHS operates is constantly changing

Despite all the doom and gloom the NHS is very likely to continue for many years to come and with extra funding and possibly a shift to 7 days GP surgeries, things may improve in the short term. Whatever the current situation, those who have used its services are generally positive about its professionalism and the degree of care that it provides. To help reduce it patients’ stress the NHS does syndicate work to the private sector, and although costly, this process helps ease the pressure within the system.

Significant changes have occurred in the NHS over the last few years and one of the most important catalysts has been the Health and Social Care Act 2012.  For students who are applying to medical school, understanding some of the key implications of this act would be useful.

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The 6Cs of the NHS

These are a set of values that underpin health and social care in the UK through the NHS. These six Cs are:

  1. Care
  2. Compassion
  3. Competence
  4. Communication
  5. Courage
  6. Commitment

 

  • Care is core to all NHS activities and involves care at all levels of NHS structure, primary (GPs surgeries), secondary (hospitals) and tertiary (hospices). Care defines the purpose of the NHS and every patient has the right to expect the highest level of care. Care should be non-judgmental and patients’ dignity and beliefs must be respected.
  • Compassion is central to care and involves empathy and an understanding that patients’ dignity must be respected throughout their experience in the NHS.
  • Competence is fundamental to care, and health professionals in the NHS must have the necessary competence to provide care through operations, medical advice, dispensing the right drugs, and have the necessary clinical and technical skills to make patients better or manage their pain.
  • Communication is fundamental to any caring relationship as without proper communication and the ability to explain what is happening and possible outcomes, patients can become stressed and overly anxious. But it is not just patients that need to be listened to: friends and family are also a vital relationship link in the NHS, as these are the people who provide the critical support to the patient, especially following an operation.
  • Courage is required to do the right thing by patients and to speak up about issues of concern within the health service. When something is not right or standards slip, it can require courage for someone to take a stance and ensure that patient standards are never compromised.
  • Commitment is the cornerstone of all of the above Cs. Without commitment to standards, compassion and care, nothing gets properly done and the general public look to healthcare professionals to be fully committed in their roles.

 

Despite the crisis, it is important to remind ourselves of what the NHS has achieved and why, as an institution, it is so important to protect, both financially and politically. Even with some questionable statistics over UK cancer survival rates being below the European average, the NHS is still recognised as one of the best healthcare systems in the world and we in the UK should all be proud of it.

 

John Dalton, 2017

Head of Science

 

University Applications

Now that the 15 January deadline has passed, you will be focused on your exams and looking out for updates in Track.

This list will help you keep your application in order over the next few months:

  • Now that your application has been sent you should have received a welcome email, you can check how it’s progressing by signing in to the online system, Track. Students can get help on how to track their application with our ‘Journey of an application’ video.
  • Keep your details up-to-date in Track to avoid delays. This includes contact information, exam details, and any changes to qualifications they’re taking. Find out more.
  • If you have missed the deadline, there is still time to apply. Applications received after the deadline will be sent to your chosen universities and colleges, although it can’t be guaranteed they’ll be considered. Higher education providers can close their courses after the deadline if they’re full, so make sure you check with the university or college whether they have vacancies before submitting late applications.
  • Students who have used all five choices and do not receive any offers, or decide to decline any offers made, can use the Extra service from 25 February to add another choice. This year the direct contact service will be going live on 27 February, in conjunction with Extra.

Rachel Sherman

Vice Principal shutterstock_173808992

We are moving…

On the 31st of May 2017, David Game College is moving to 31 Jewry Street, EC3, in the City of London. The new landlord is Sir John Cass, one of the world’s oldest and most respected educational foundations, who also reside within the building. The new location is 60,000 sq. ft. and is currently undergoing renovation to ensure that the premises can provide students with superior facilities and additional space. The Jewry Street location is part of the College’s commitment to a multi-million pound development plan that will help provide stability and an improved educational experience for all students over the next decade and beyond.

Follow our journey, we will be posting photos of the re-development week by week over on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/davidgamecollege/

 

Open Day:

Our next open day is scheduled for Thursday 9th February, from 5-7pm. If you would like to book an appointment to meet a member of our admissions team please email; admissions@davidgamecollege.com .

We look forward to meeting you!

Celebrating our Values and Great Britons: a debate

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Celebrating our Values and Great Britons: a debate

At David Game College we are committed to promoting and celebrating British values and highlighting why these are important and relevant. We strongly feel that all of our students should understand and celebrate the values that Britain (amongst other nations) has helped foster and shaped globally. These values include:

  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Democracy
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of others with different faiths and beliefs
  • Celebrating diversity and not discriminating against others

We are not suggesting that these values are universally British, but rather that these are common values that have been, and still are, central to the British way of life. Such values underpin the very foundation of our country and the education system that so many people wish to access and benefit from.  In a time when many values are being questioned and errored by extremist ideas and intolerant beliefs, upholding and illuminating such values is ever more necessary.

The Vice Principal, John Dalton, has drawn up a list of Great Britons that he personally feels have made the most significant contribution to this nation and represent the spirit of British values from the 16th Century to-date.  Mr Dalton would like to spark a debate of who should be removed or added to the list, and why? The list represents to him those who significantly changed Britain or who have an uncommon talent or intellect, which all of us to this day have benefited from, either scientifically or aesthetically.  Please add your comments. Also add/delete the living Britons’ list, but whatever you highlight, please have a good reason to justify a deletion or why an addition has made a genuine contribution, which is significant and lasting.

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30 Great Britons (in no historic or merit order)

  1. Elizabeth 1                         Queen of England:                                           1533-1603
  2. Isaac Newton                     science: gravity:                                               1643-1727
  3. Francis Bacon                    Science, philosophy and literature:          1561-1626
  4. John Locke                          philosophy:                                                       1632-1704
  5. William Shakespeare literature:                                                                1564-1616
  6. Robert Boyle Scientists – Gas laws:                                                           1627-1691
  7. Michael Faraday electromagnetism                                                          1791-18671
  8. Charles Darwin Natural selection/evolution:                                        1809-1882
  9. Oliver Cromwell Parliamentary Democracy:                                          1599-1658
  10. Captain Cook Science and exploration:                                                    1728-1779
  11. Charles Lyell                       Geology:                                                               1797-1875
  12. William Wilberforce Abolition of slavery:                                               1759-1833
  13. Emmeline Pankhurst Women’s vote:                                                       1858-1928
  14. Alan Turing Mathematician & Computing:                                             1912-1954
  15. Charles Babbage Computing:                                                                      1791-1871
  16. Francis Crick Scientists –DNA:                                                                   1916-2004
  17. Florence Nightingale Nursing:                                                                   1820-1910
  18. John Stewart Mill Philosophy:                                                                    1806-1873
  19. Winston Churchill Statesman:                                                                   1874-1965
  20. William Blake Poet and Painter:                                                                 1757-1827
  21. Charles Dickens Writer:                                                                                1812-1870
  22. Margaret Thatcher Stateswoman:                                                             1925-2013
  23. Richard Burton Explorer:                                                                              1821-1890
  24. Edward Elgar Composer:                                                                               1857-1934
  25. Dorothy Hodgkin Scientist:                                                                          1910-1994
  26. Bertrand Russell Philosopher and mathematician:                             1872-1970
  27. Robert Hooke    Scientist:                                                                              1635-1703
  28. John Constable Painter:                                                                                  1776-1837
  29. John Napier Mathematician and astronomer:                                      1550-1617
  30. John Maynard Keynes Economist                                                             1883-1946

10 Great Living Britons

  1. Ed Stafford                                 Explorer
  2. Tim Bernard –Lees                  Inventor
  3. Lord Foster                                 Architect
  4. Sir David Attenborough         Naturalist
  5. JK Rowling                                  Author
  6. Sir Michael Caine                     Actor
  7. Stephen Hawkins                     Astrophysicist
  8. Richard Dawkins                      Scientists
  9. Her Majesty the Queen –       Monarch
  10. Sir Ranulph Fiennes –            Explorer