Guild of Graduates Lectures
'Sci-fi Forest: Propelling an English Woodland into 2050' - Professor Rob MacKenzie, Director, Birmingham Institute of Forest Research
- Landscapes, predominately forests, currently absorb between 2 and 3 of every 10 molecules of CO2 released by human activities. Will this mopping up of carbon increase in the future as CO2 increases, acting as a strong brake on atmospheric CO2 concentrations? Since CO2 in the atmosphere causes global warming, the CO2 molecules captured by forests are a massive free gift from nature to fossil-fuel burning humanity.The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) has established the only mature forest facility for Free-Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) in the Northern Hemisphere – a stunning piece of very-low-impact engineering called a ‘sci-fi forest’ by BBC correspondent, Roger Harrabin. CO2-enrichment started in 2017 and will run until 2026. Preliminary results already indicate that increased carbon is being drawn down into the forest. Whether that, and many other responses of the forest to elevated CO2, will persist throughout the experiment remains to be seen! Alumni support is making a real difference to the science happening at BIFoR FACE, as we will explain at the event.
'Growing avatars of cancer' - Dr Andrew Beggs, Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
- My laboratory can grow mini-tumours, which we call “avatars” from samples taken before treatment. From these we can work out how a cancer will respond to different types of treatment, and more importantly we can predict what type of resistance will emerge when treated. This will allow us to truly personalise cancer treatment to the patient.
'Activist Selly Oak' - Dr Chris Moores, Department of History and the Flatpack Film Festival
- Having recently led a research project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which explored the history of activism both on the University campus and within Selly Oak, Dr Chris Moores provides an overview of the fascinating tapestry of campaigns, movements and individuals that have been uncovered.