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Inspired by...Presenting to Parliament: Royal Holloway student talks science with MPs

Posted on 25/03/2013

Anna Frej presents her work

Last week, PhD student Anna Frej from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants, to present her research to a number of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the ‘SET for Britain’ competition.

Run to help promote scientists early in their careers, the annual competition is split into three categories; Engineering, Biological and Biomedical Science and Physical Sciences (Chemistry and Physics), and applicants are asked to produce a poster that displays and explains their research.

We caught up with Anna after the competition to find out how it went:

What was the inspiration for your poster?

I am eager to tell people about my work in finding out how bipolar disorder drugs work and how to improve current treatments. My work uses an amoeba as a research model and I am very keen to make politicians and scientists aware that there is a valid model for development and pharmacology research that does not require the use of animals.

What challenges did you face when putting the poster together?

I’ve become accustomed to discussing my research using scientific terms, so it was challenging to take a different perspective and design a poster that would be both scientific and easy to follow. Also, with limited space available, I had to be really specific on what I wanted to communicate as it was impossible to include all my findings.

What was it like presenting your work in the House of Commons?

It was a very exciting experience. I met many fellow researchers, scientists and parliamentarians and I thoroughly enjoyed the positive atmosphere of the event. All the participants were very enthusiastic about their research and visitors were genuinely interested in the science presented to them. It was great to have recognition for my work and for Royal Holloway!

What are your future plans?

I love my work as a scientist. I’m inspired by science and looking for answers that no-one else has found. Currently I am hoping to find better treatments and drugs for people with bipolar disorder. The treatments available at the moment help people to control their mood swings, but do not provide a cure, are not completely effective and have serious side effects. I hope my research can change that.

Anna's work is funded by The Doctor Hadwen Trust and she is supervised by Professor Robin Williams 


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