Monthly Archives: October 2014

Bringing up Britain

In December 2013, Dr Jan Macvarish from the, Mariella Frostrup and a panel of expert guests debated what to say to children about sex, when to say it and explore why it can be so tricky in a Radio 4 broadcast. Mariella (left) and her guests explored how adults’ attitudes to children and sexuality colour how they behave as parents. The programme asked if society is dangerously relaxed about the sexualised clothing, imagery and culture surrounding young people or if increased awareness of child sexual abuse in recent years made parents deeply uncomfortable with talking and thinking about children and sex at all.

The programme included Simon Blake, Chief Executive of Brook, a charity offering sexual health information, psychotherapist Viviane Green, Jan McVarish and columnist and writer Giles Coren.


Worldwide Media Coverage for International Genetics Conference

The annual meeting of the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis International Society (PGDIS) took place at Woolf College,Canterbury campus from 29 April to 2 May 2014. It was attended by more than 300 experts, including IVF pioneer and televisionpersonality Professor Lord Winston.His keynote address and other conference discussions, such as the impact of IVF on embryonic and long-term health, received media mentions across the globe, including the front cover of the Daily Mail, Guardian online, the i, the Washington Star, ITV and Nursing Times.

Professor Darren Griffin and Lord Robert Winston


The conference reunited many members of the original research team, led by Professor Winston and Professor Alan Handyside (currently an honorary member of Kent staff), which pioneered pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in the 1980s and 1990s. Darren Griffin, was one of that team. Darren, who was also the conference chair, gave a presentation entitled ‘Counting chromosomes: from sexing to Karyomapping’ as part of a session looking at early discoveries in the history of PGD and how they have led to more recent innovations. Alongside debate and discussion, the conference showcased announcements of advances in the science of PGD – which involves the genetic profiling of embryos prior to implantation and can be used for the diagnosis of specific disease. Darren said afterwards: “PGD continues to be an exciting, and sometimes controversial area of medicine. This conference addressed the past, present and future of this ever-evolving area of science. We have had a lot of good feedback from this meeting whose legacy will be the place in which a number of ”firsts” were announced.” He added: “I am grateful to all the team, particularly my lab and students on the MSc in Human Reproduction for making it happen”.