Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) 2019

This year we had three pharmacy undergraduates who successfully completed the research opportunity programme at Reading. We are especially pleased to announce that Pharmacy’s own undergraduate student, Bilal Mohammed was the recipient of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) prize for the Health research theme 2019.

Bilal Mohammed, winner of the health research theme prize

Bilal was named as one of two overall winners awarded the opportunity to present their work at Posters in Parliament in Spring 2020. Bilal’s project was supported by an EPSRC Vacation Bursary awarded by the University of Reading. The project was supervised by Professors Rachel McCrindle and Simon Sherratt (Biomedical Engineering) and Professor Parastou Donyai (Pharmacy) and examined technologies to support medication reuse. Many congratulations to Bilal and the project team.


Selen Morelle

Selen Morelle, project entitled “How to best communicate with patients about their medication when they are being discharged from a Mental Health setting”, working with Orla McDonald (Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust).


Jamila Koradli

Jamila Koradli, project entitled “Pharmacy outreach project; podcasts, career wheel and happy families career cards”, working with Dr Mark Dallas as the co-investigator.

New Diversity and Inclusion initiative

Graduate Teaching Assistants, Sophie Oduyale and Flavia Ghouri, were recently successful in being awarded funding from the university’s deans for diversity to organise an event to suppport and empower the diverse range of undergraduate students enrolled on the pharmacy course.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the regulatory body for pharmacists, released a report in 2016 highlighting a significant discrepancy in the pre-registration examination pass rate based on ethnicity – passing this exam is essential for registering as a pharmacist in the UK. Figures from the university also suggests a disparity based on race in terms of achieving a first or upper-second classfication. Through this funding, we endeavour to support and develop our students by running a series of events focusing on overcoming issues that might otherwise affect students’ learning and progress.

We plan to run a three-day workshop event, spread across the autumn and spring terms, targeting pharmacy undergraudate students. The objectives are to; create an accessibility to positive Black and Minority Ethnic BAME role models, promote cultural awareness to different styles of learning, encourage students in seeking opportunities beyond university, and an introduction to emotional awareness including its relevance to interviews and learning at university. At the end of each session, the students will have the opportunity to network with each other and the guest speakers to encourage the formation of supportive peer networks.

Please watch the space for further information and announcements.

Recent conference presentations

Catherine Langran, Kat Hall and Dan Grant presented their work at the 10th Biennial Monash Pharmacy Education Symposium in Prato, Italy, 7-10th July.

Presentation by Catherine Langran

Catherine Langran gave an oral presentation entitled “An Evaluation of Pharmacy Undergraduate Student Wellbeing”

Authors: Catherine Langran, Pari Ajgaonkar, Mona Qassim & Alicia Pena

Congratulations to Catherine, who was awarded first prize for the best talk on Education Research at the conference.

Presentation by Dan Grant

Dan Grant presented a poster snapshot on “Peer Assisted Learning – a learning opportunity and a life hack?”

Authors: Rosemary Lim, Caroline Crolla, Daniel Grant, Taniya Sharmeen & Wing Man Lau.


Presentation by Kat Hall

Kat Hall presented a poster snapshot on “An Evaluation of a certificate in business administration (CBS) programme for Mpharm students”

Authors: Kat Hall, Catherine Langran & Gavin Lawrence

An Interprofessional Learning symposium on the holistic management of patients who fall

On the 21st February 2019, pharmacy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy students came together for a one day inter-professional symposium on falls. The day started with an engaging and informative keynote speech from Dr Colin Mitchell, Consultant in Geriatric Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust. This was followed by expert patients sharing their experience of falls and the impact falls have had on their quality of life.

The students then split into small groups to complete video cased based learning and simulation activities. For the simulation activities students wore visual impairment glasses and attempted to read and complete a NHS menu choice form, then read the label on a box of medicine and the patient information leaflet inside. Students (in pairs – one wearing the visual impairment glasses and ear plugs and one as a safety guide) then walked around the Palmer building and the quad, identifying and reflecting on any hazards and difficulties experienced.











Students then put on bariatric and elderly simulation suits. Students began by lying on the floor, as though they had fallen, and attempted to get back up. Once up, the students complete a series of physiotherapy rehabilitation tasks. The simulation suits made all these tasks more challenging for students, in particular struggling to get up off the floor and tiring quicker.

The feedback from students was very positive. For the simulation activities, they stated they enjoyed putting themselves in the patients’ eyes/body and they have a much better appreciation of the challenges patients face. They also identified ways as healthcare professionals they could make changes to help these patients e.g. reading out the menu choices, large-print labels for medicines and modifying physiotherapy exercises.











Catherine Langran, Lecturer, School of Pharmacy c.a.langran@reading.ac.uk

What does the future of Pharmacy look like?

By Casra Momtahen, 2nd year M(Pharm) student

As a pharmacy student, it’s always inspiring to hear of the impact pharmacists can have on UK healthcare. Most notably so from the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, who expressed how proud she was of the teamwork between herself and Pharmacists during her time as a practicing physician. Further advocating how our NHS is a team, in which we are all key players. The future of life sciences and healthcare panel was among various presentations exhibiting the latest advancements in pharmaceutical and healthcare research at the RPS Science and Research Summit 2019. The main talking points of the conference were Diabetes, antimicrobial resistance, and the use of digital technology to improve Healthcare provision.

It is estimated that 5 million people will have diabetes by 2025 in the UK, emphasised by Professor Gino Martini, Chief Scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. His personal story about his father’s struggles with type 2 diabetes stressed some of the reasons why so many people go into healthcare. And to see what drives a valued member of the RPS is inspiring to say the least. And in the spirit of an ever-diversifying society, Professor Mahendra G. Patel highlighted the importance of tailored and personal healthcare in patients living with diabetes. For example, teaching pharmacists how to help Muslim patients manage their diabetes during the month of Ramadan.

“The Pharmacist’s role in antimicrobial stewardship is ever evolving” Professor Davies explained in her Keynote presentation. The Chief Medical Officer advocated the importance of looking beyond human antibiotic use, onto that of veterinary use also. Professor Davies’ also exhibited the work of the Fleming Fund, a foundation dedicated to promoting antimicrobial stewardship in low- and middle-income countries. On behalf of the fund, volunteer Pharmacists can be sent to various Commonwealth countries to promote antimicrobial stewardship, an inspiring example of how pharmacist’s potential for international influence.

In the spirit of the 21st century, Muhammed Hussain, senior clinical lead for NHS digital, highlighted the work being done looking at AI systems and other sophisticated technology to further benefit patients and healthcare professionals. For example, Mr Hussain presented one potential solution where summary care records can be monitored from the patient’s phone. This would allow the patient to be notified if their summary care records have been accessed and by whom. Mr Hussain explained how this can further put patients in control of their own healthcare. However, with every technological advancement, there are always data protection considerations, especially when healthcare and confidentiality is involved. On the theme of taking healthcare online, Dr Andy Blackwell, Chief Science Officer at Ieso Digital Health, presented an online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) system, where patients can undergo therapy through an online instant messaging platform. Dr Blackwell explained how this allows for easier monitoring and supervision of therapy sessions. The new platform also showed improvements in adherence, where in the modern world, for most it is easier to access an online platform than a psychotherapist’s office.

The undergraduate perspective of a science and research summit is a strange mixture of daunting and inspiring. It gives one a glance at the limitless nature of research, whilst at the same time the vastness of knowledge yet to be understood. On behalf of myself and the students who attended the conference, I would like to thank Professor Green for sponsoring our attendance.