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DMU researcher joins leading females for Leicester's first Soapbox Science event


A researcher from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be swapping the lab for a soapbox this Saturday to inspire more people to consider a career in science.

Dr Naomi Martin, a lecturer in Biomedical and Medical Science at DMU, is one of 12 female scientists who have been asked to share their research for Leicester’s first ever ‘Soapbox Science’ event.

Dr Naomi Martin

Inspired by Hyde Park’s ‘Speaker’s Corner’, Soapbox Science invites leading females conducting research in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) to bring their work directly to the general public.

Since it was established in 2011, Soapbox Science has grown from one event in London, to dozens of events around the world.

“The idea behind Soapbox Science is to make scientific research accessible for people of all ages and also to challenge gender stereotypes by showing the huge impact that women are having in STEMM,” said Dr Martin. “This is the first time Leicester has hosted one of these events so it’s really exciting to be asked to take part and showcase my work.”

Dr Martin’s research looks at how very tiny vesicles she calls ‘microbubbles’ can affect the human body’s immune system and lead to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“Microbubbles are biologically active vesicles which are shed from circulating cells and blood vessels,” she explained. “Our research shows that microbubbles are harmful because they play a role in the initiation and progression of diseases. For example, we think they are responsible for the increased damage to blood vessels which can lead to cardiovascular disease.”

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Another area of Dr Martin’s research, in collaboration with Cranfield University, looks at how tiny plastic particles in the world’s oceans could be impacting human health.

“We all know plastic pollution is a huge issue, especially after it was highlighted by Sir David Attenborough on Blue Planet,” she said. “There is a lot of research looking at how plastic affects aquatic life but nobody has really worked out the effect it is having on our health or progression of diseases, so this is another area of our work at DMU.”

Leicester’s first Soapbox Science event will take place at the Riverside Festival in Bede Park on Saturday June 1 between 10am and 4pm. Dr Martin will be demonstrating her work from 12pm to 1pm.

“Hopefully the event will inspire more people, especially young people, to consider a career in science,” she added. “It’s also a really good opportunity for the general public to meet researchers, ask questions and find out about all the fantastic work being done by women in STEMM in Leicester.”

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Posted on Friday 31st May 2019

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