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Amy Firth
Amy Firth

Internal News - 10 May 2006

Parliamentary presentation for young researcher

Amy Firth, a PhD student in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, has taken part in a special House of Commons reception for Younger Researchers in the Biosciences and Medicine.

Amy, who works with Dr Sergey Smirnov in the department, was one of only 100 UK researchers chosen to take part in the event, which involved presenting a poster on her research, on a medical condition which prevents areas of the lung from working properly, to MPs and Lords.

This is the second year of the ‘SET for Britain’ initiative which aims to engender increased dialogue between MPs, early-stage researchers and Britain's research communities.

"It was a fantastic experience and such a great opportunity to be able to present my data to MPs and fellow scientists at such an event, said Amy.

Amy’s research is on the biochemical processes involved in a condition which occurs when part of the lung doesn’t get enough oxygen and becomes ‘hypoxic’, leading to constriction of blood vessels.

This process, called hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction or HPV, generally has a protective role by diverting blood from areas with low oxygen supply to those enriched with oxygen. However, if it persists, as in chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders, which often occur in heavy smokers, it can lead to pulmonary hypertension and become life-threatening.

During her PhD, Amy discovered a mechanism that regulates blood circulation in the lung and could help in the development of novel therapeutic strategies in treatment of pulmonary hypertension and other cardiopulmonary disorders.

“Amy is the only young researcher to represent not only our department, but also the entire University at this event,” said Professor Richard Guy, Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. “I congratulate Amy on this outstanding achievement.”