Biology students visit Warwick University

30 Cirencester College Biology students recently enjoyed a day of fascinating lectures at Warwick University by world class scientists in the field of Biology.

Among the lectures was a fascinating talk on the use of DNA in forensic science, an engaging talk on the science of high altitude survival, a cutting edge lecture on oesophageal cancer and an inspiring talk on marine biology.

The students really enjoyed the experience and will be able to apply their knowledge and develop their understanding further during their Biology lessons here at the College. This is what just a few of our students had to say about the day:


1st year Biology student Lorena Davies 

“The trip to Warwick university was brilliant, the speakers were very interesting especially the surgeon and anyone that thinks they may go into any field of biology (or any science for that matter) should absolutely think about going. Biology is an incredibly versatile science and so the many careers within the field are definitely worth looking into and therefore this trip was very useful and interesting.” 


1st year Biology student Sophie Ashman

“The Biology in Action talks at Warwick Uni were a great insight into how biology can be applied to so many areas of science. We listened to talks on marine biology to forensic science and even more research based talks on how our body works at high altitude. Each one was completely different and gave a wider view on biology in the real world. It was extremely fascinating”

1st year Biology student Ben Wilkie:

“I thought that the trip was one of the most interesting trips I’ve ever been on. All of the talks were very inspirational, especially the one by the cancer surgeon.

My favourite talk was by the marine biologist, Helen Scales. This is because I want to go into marine biology in the future and I found it a great insight into what they actually do. But every single one of the talks were very eye opening and interesting.“


2nd year Biology student Eleanor Griffiths:

“One talk I found particularly interesting, was on Oesophageal Cancer and the development of new treatments by Tim Underwood, a surgeon who specializes in providing treatment and surgery for those who are diagnosed. The talk underlined the need for alternative ways of treating cancer, with chemo and surgery being a last result in order to improve quality of life, and bring the survival rate up from 1/3 cases. He talked about new ways of treating this through being able to tailor the treatment, one of which includes looking into the DNA of cancer and comparing it to that of normal DNA, and then from this using the mutational signature to seek out appropriate treatments. We also learnt how fibroblasts play a key role in the development of cancer as they supply structural and functional factors towards the growth, and how the study of these fibroblasts in cancer could help lead to a form of treatment with more research into what causes them to act in this manner and how it can be reversed. It was surprising to hear that Viagra can be used to change these fibroblasts back to normal, and how tests are currently being carried out to look into this in greater detail.  Another new potential form of treatment that was discussed was drop seeking; a way of tailoring treatment through looking at genomes, which if fails would then bring up the need for the patient to undergo surgery.  On top of this we also were able to see a video of Tim carrying out surgery on a patient with cancer of the oesophagus, so we could see how the surgery is undertaken as well as how short recovery time now is.

Getting the chance to listen to these lectures was a great opportunity as it helped me see what my degree could take me on to do, as well as seeing how an industry I’m very interested in is already developing. It also gave me assurance that I do want to carry on with biology when i go to university next year, and that I could have the opportunity to be involved in a huge medical development that will change lives.”


If you would like to find out more about studying A-level Biology at Cirencester College please contact David Bell on 01285 640994 or e-mail