Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

PhD Induction 2020: new cohort gather in Swansea - Emma Kinley

Emma Kinley writes about when our latest cohort of PhD students gathered at Swansea University for their induction session

On 26-27 February, our latest cohort of PhD students gathered at Swansea University for an induction session – a chance to meet one another, find out more about the Centre’s postgraduate training programme, and hear from asthma patients and researchers. Read about the experience in the blog below from Student Representative, Emma Kinley.

Upon arrival at Swansea University campus, which beautifully sits overlooking the coast, new members of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research postgraduate training programme arrived from all over the UK including Edinburgh, Leeds and London.

The group had the opportunity to get to know each other during the initial Welcome Reception and lunch. The Centre’s postgraduate training leads, Hilary Pinnock and Gwyneth Davies, welcomed the group and gave an insight into the Centre and its postgraduate training programme.

The patient experience

The sessions for the afternoon began with an inspiring overview and discussion of an ‘Introduction to asthma, what is asthma and what are the treatments?’ with Gwyneth Davies and Caroline Davies.

Caroline explained to the group she had suffered with asthma for over 30 years, she kindly came to the event to discuss her difficult lived experiences of living with asthma. All the students really appreciated Caroline’s honest, powerful and encouraging attitude towards her asthma, despite troubles she had faced. The discussion really emphasised the importance of self-management of asthma and the intense variability of the condition.

An introduction to clinical asthma

Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research new student cohort Feb 2020
(L-R) Hilary Pinnock, Bohee Lee, Kevin Tsang, Grace Lewis, Kathryn Jordan, Hayley Holt, Imogen Skene, Mats Stage Baxter, Emma Kinley, Gwyneth Davies and Lauren Blake

Hilary Pinnock then gave an introduction to clinical asthma (Primary care, self-management and Implementation), also informing the group of the exciting IMP²ART programme of work, which focuses on embedding self-management into routine asthma care. 

The group then took advantage of the beautiful Swansea sun for our first group picture!

The sessions continued with an introduction into clinical asthma, secondary care, severe asthma, physiology and biologics by Katie Pink and an overview of Paediatric Asthma by Katie Greenwood. These sessions were a great high-level overview of the aspects of clinical asthma, greatly appreciated by the students who do not have a clinic background. The parallel sessions between adult and child management and care really highlighted the difference in approaches needed when working with different groups and the challenges this presents.

The first day was finished off by a great team meal at a local gastropub with lots of food and getting to know each other!

Presenting our projects

The second day of the event began with student and project introduction presentations from all students. This was a great opportunity to learn about all members research and ways in which we can collaborate and work together throughout or PhD studies.

This session was subsequently followed by an introduction to Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) and resources by Tracy Jackson. Tracy gave an insightful overview of the importance of PPI. Most members of the team have arranged to coordinate with Tracy to ensure this is a pivotal aspect of their research.

Testing peak flow meters and inhalers

The next session was conducted by Clinical Research Fellow, Shanya Sivakumaran, who shared an insight into the pathophysiology of asthma.

The group really appreciated the practical aspect of this session where group members were able to test peak flow meters and different styled inhalers – giving a real insight into the practical patient management of asthma.

PhD practicalities

The group were then provided with an introduction to Endnote by librarian Susan Glen. This session was helpful in providing top tips of staying on top of reference management whilst writing throughout our studies.

The last session was led by Tracy Jackson who outlined ‘What I wish I knew when I started my PhD’. The group appreciated Tracy’s top tips and discussions took place around all the opportunities available within the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research network.

Thank you!

On behalf of the students who attended, (Kathryn Jordan, Kevin Tsang, Grace Lewis, Hayley Holt, Bohee Lee, Mats Stage Baxter, Imogen Skene and myself Emma Kinley), I would like to extend a big thank you to all who helped to organise the event and our guest speakers, especially Gwyneth Davies, Hilary Pinnock and Lauren Blake.

The event was invaluable in allowing us all to get to know and support each other throughout our research as well as providing an encompassed overview of all aspects of asthma care and management.

Our Postgraduate Training programme