Café MED

Join us at the next Café MED

Find out more about upcoming Café MED and other events organised at the Suttie centre.

Café MED

Explore the latest research in medical sciences at the University of Aberdeen and learn about its impact on clinical practice.

Latest Café MED: Spinal Muscular Atrophy - A Treatable Childhood Motor Neuron Disease

Café MED Archive

Access our previous Café MED events below.

Café MED: Cutting back on the fat - the health effects of fat tissue and how bariatric surgery works

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancers. We look at why increasing the amount of fat tissue we have in our bodies can lead to disease. We also discuss bariatric surgery, which can be a highly effective treatment for obesity and how it can have some surprising effects on health.

Café MED: Data saves lives

How the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal Database has been improving our understanding of pregnancy risks for over 75 years. Sir Dugald Baird had the foresight to start collecting data on all pregnancies in Aberdeen in 1949 - we take a look at how data in the AMND has led to breakthrough research and changed our understanding of pregnancy complications for the last 75 years. Learn how we carry our research, supported by our Trusted Research Environment, the Grampian Data Safe Haven, using this uniquely detailed database which holds data on over 380,000 Pregnancies.

Speakers: Dr Andrea Woolner (Clinical Senior Lecturer) & Dr Mairead Black (Senior Clinical Lecturer, Chair of AMND steering committee)

Café MED: Unlocking the secrets of the brain

The human brain is the most complex organ that has ever evolved and if something goes wrong in the developing or adult brain, it can have devastating consequences such as neurodevelopmental disorders and dementia. We will discuss methods that we use to study the healthy and diseased human brain and what you can do to improve your brain health and increase the number of newborn neurons in your brain.

Speakers: Dr Daniel Begg (Lecturer) & Dr Eunchai Kang (Lecturer)

Café MED: Improving outcomes in Pelvic cancers

Patients with pelvic cancers, including colorectal, prostate and gynaecological cancers, are treated with surgery and radiotherapy, but not all are cured. We are investigating the possible use of dietary fibre supplements to improve outcomes. We will discuss our work and explain the underlying rationale.

Speakers: Professor Anne Kiltie (Friends of ANCHOR Clinical Chair in Oncology, Honorary Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Rowett Institute) and Mr George Ramsay (Senior Clinical Lecturer, Honorary Consultant Colorectal and General Surgeon, Health Services Research Unit)

Café MED: Thalidomide

Hear from Professor Neil Vargesson and Dr Alastair Lawrie on the infamous action of Thalidomide, how it is used to treat a range of conditions and research to retain its clinical benefits whilst removing some of the potential risks.

Café MED: Diet and health inequalities linked to obesity

Currently, 63% of adults in UK are collectively overweight or obesity, with figures projected to keep rising, linked to the cost of living crisis. Obesity is disproportionately represented in areas of social deprivation. Our food system must consider solutions to reduce diet-related inequality to create a long-term shift to promote health.

Speaker: Professor Alexandra Johnstone (Chair in Human Nutrition, Rowett Institute)

Café CONNECT: Following the Science: How is data modelling used to inform the COVID-19 response at a local level

Leading figures from the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian discuss and reflect on how they combined their expertise and worked together to analyse emerging Covid-19 data and define NHS Grampian response to the pandemic.

Speakers: Professor Corri Black (Director of the Centre for Health Data Science, University of Aberdeen), Dr Nick Fluck (Medical Director for NHS Grampian), Dr Graham Osler (Health intelligence Analyst, NHS Grampian) and Dr Dimitra Blana (Lecturer in Health Data Science, University of Aberdeen).

Café CONNECT: Genotype hype: what can your DNA tell you about disease risk?

The NHS in Scotland is deciding whether and how to adopt whole genome sequencing as a routine test to diagnose genetic conditions. We will examine the science underlying whole genome testing, discuss the challenges and limitations of this approach and address some of the questions that still remain.

Speakers: Professor Zosia Miedzybrodzka (Chair in Genetics and Clinical Geneticist), Dr Jonathan Pettitt (Reader in Genetics) and Dr Lynne Mennie (Project Manager for Genome Sequencing in NHS Scotland), University of Aberdeen.

Café MED: Making Pregnancy Predictable: From the Oral Pill to Fertility Apps

For many couples, a diagnosis of infertility can be a huge emotional burden, making a seemingly foreseeable future appear bleak and unpredictable. We will discuss the use of accurate personalised fertility prediction models to assess the chances of pregnancy and make decisions on fertility treatment.

Speakers: Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya (Chair in Obstetrics and Gynaecology) and Dr David McLernon (Senior Research Fellow in Medical Statistics)

Café MED: Diet and Diabetes - let's get personal

One in 15 people in the UK have diabetes, but a quarter have not yet been diagnosed. More than half of all cases of type-2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed and even reversed by a healthy lifestyle. We will discuss diabetes theory and practice - especially, why do specific diets or lifestyle regimes work for some but not for others.

Speakers: Professor Baukje de Roos (Chair in Nutrition, Rowett Institute) and Dr Wendy Watson (Consultant Diabetologist)

Café MED: Less is more? A tale of anticholinergics

Anticholinergics are commonly used for many common conditions. But they are known for their notorious short and long-term potential harms and we are building a case towards a pragmatic solution. Both speakers have extensive experience in dealing with patients who are on these medicines and working with international experts in this area of research.

Speakers: Professor Phyo Myint (Chair in Old Age Medicine) and Dr Roy Soiza (Consultant Geriatrician)

Café MED: Motor Neurone Diseases: What's next?

The pan-Scotland Euan MacDonald Centre carries out research on how motor neurones work, looking at new drug treatments and improving quality of life for people with motor neurone diseases (MND). The Centre's researchers and clinicians will discuss progress and future developments in MND.

Speakers: Professor Simon Parson (Regius Chair of Anatomy), Dr Liz Elliot (Clinical Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh), and Ms Susan Stewart (MND Clinical Specalist)

Café MED: Live well with arthritis

Nearly 1 in 3 people in Scotland live with a condition like osteoarthritis or chronic back pain, which often significantly impacts on quality of life. Come and hear the latest scientific evidence around best treatments and symptom management. Learn what resources are available to help those with arthritis live well.

Speakers: Dr Kathryn Martin (Lecturer in Epidemiology, University of Aberdeen), Dr Rosemary Hollick (Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Rheumatology, NHS Grampian), Caron Jenkins (Senior Operations and Development Manager, Versus Arthritis) and Angela Donaldson-Bruce (Scotland Director, Versus Arthritis).

Café MED: The pros and cons of exercise

Exercise is a key element in promoting a healthy lifestyle and its benefits are well documented, ranging from weight management to better control of blood sugar. But is all exercise beneficial? Find out what type and how much exercise we should undertake to maintain health.

Speakers: Dr Derek Ball (Head of Sports Science, University of Aberdeen), Dr Arthur Strachan (Chief Biomedical Scientist), Dr Jenny Gregory (Lecturer in Osteoarthritis, University of Aberdeen) and Professor Alan Johnstone (Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, NHS Grampian).

Testosterone: The Goldilocks hormone

The hormone testosterone is a master regulator of several vital processes such as metabolism, reproduction and cancers. We will discuss how too little or too much of this 'Goldilocks hormone' has an adverse effect on health and who is its 'gatekeeper'.

Speakers: Professor Iain McEwan (Chair in Cell and Molecular Endocrinology, University of Aberdeen) and Professor Phyo Myint (Chair in Old Age Medicine and Consultant Geriatrician, NHS Grampian)

Breast cancer: Distinguishing tigers from pussycats

An unintended consequence of national breast screening programmes is the increase in the detection of pre-invasive breast cancers, called DCIS. We will discuss how this presents challenges for doctors and how scientists are tackling this in the laboratory.

Speakers: Professor Valerie Speirs (Chair in Molecular Oncology, University of Aberdeen) and Mr Yazan Massanat (Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, NHS Grampian)

Café Med: Social Media: double tapping into our insecurities?

Dealing with social media can be challenging, but for young people especially the effects on mental health can be profound. We will discuss positive and negative effects and will focus on eating disorders, as patients with these disorders can be particularly vulnerable to the impact of social media.

Speakers: Dr Louise Johnston (Consultant Psychiatrist, the Eden Unit, NHS Grampian) and Dr Tharaka Gunarathne (Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, NHS Grampian)

Café Med: Informing Health Policy: Is it time to celebrate or innovate?

In 2018 we celebrated seventy years of our NHS and the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for our health services research. Find out how our research has changed healthcare over the last 40 years and the challenges we face in the next 40.

Speakers: Professor Craig Ramsay, Director (Health Services Research Unit), Professor Mandy Ryan, Director (Health Economics Research Unit)

Café MED: First Female Medical Graduates of the University of Aberdeen

In this talk we hear about the first five female doctors who graduated from the University of Aberdeen in the early 1900s and discuss the changing medical student population. We consider how some of the challenges these pioneers faced relate to problems we still face today.

Speakers: Rosannah Jackson and Claire Repper (Third year medical students), Professor Rona Patey (Director of the Institute of Education for Medical and Dental Sciences) and Dr Stephen Lynch (President of Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society).