This week at the Progress Educational Trust (28 February 2014)
This week, the Progress Educational Trust (PET) exhibited at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)'s conference 'Putting Patients at the Centre of What We Do'. This gave PET's Director Sarah Norcross and Communications Officer Sandy Starr (both pictured right) a welcome opportunity to catch up with many familiar faces, including PET Advisers Stuart Lavery and Dr Alan Thornhill and several panel speakers from past PET events. Sarah and Sandy were also delighted by the number of new people who came to PET's stand to find out about the charity's work.
One thing that helped attract the attention of these fresh faces was the item pictured left. PET has never before featured a picture of a bra on its homepage, and perhaps owes its readers an explanation. The pink undergarment was used to promote PET's forthcoming events, several of which in coming months will address topics related to breast cancer. Sarah and Sandy pinned PET's promotional material to the bra , and then attached the bra to the HFEA's literal 'line of thought' (to which conference delegates were encouraged to peg their written ideas).
Delegates were particularly interested in the two events that PET is organising in May. 'Risk Assessment: Breast Cancer, Prediction and Screening' - part of PET's Wellcome Trust supported project 'Breast Cancer: Chances, Choices and Genetics' - will address the reproductive decisions of people who are genetically predisposed to develop breast cancer, with speakers including Paul Serhal (the first UK clinician licensed by the HFEA to perform preimplantation genetic diagnosis for breast cancer predisposition). A fortnight later, 'Do Genes Matter? Families and Donor Conception' - part of the Morgan Centre's 'Relative Strangers' project - will address issues that are very relevant to the donor conception work priorities discussed by the HFEA at its conference (on which the HFEA seeks feedback here).
Prior to that, PET's packed programme will launch in April with an event entitled 'Relative Risk: Breast Cancer and Genetics'. This and all subsequent events in the programme will take place at University College London on Thursday evenings, with details as follows (click on each event title for further information).
All of these events are free to attend. To book your place, all you need to do is email Sandy Starr at
In other news, the latest participants in PET's writing scheme recently spent a busy day in the PET office. The scheme sees the editors of PET's flagship publication BioNews select graduate students from Queen Mary University of London and University College London, and train them in the art of science and news writing. The latest participants in the scheme are Patricia Cassidy and Chee Hoe Low (both pictured left), who were shown the ropes during their induction day by Sarah and by BioNews editors James Brooks and Siobhan Chan.
Have a read of these writers' first BioNews articles - 'Poll: One in four think 40 is too old for IVF', 'Canada: Three parents listed on baby's birth certificate' and 'Stem cell acid bath "breakthrough" under investigation' (by Patricia), and 'Patients worried after sudden closure of Irish IVF clinic', 'Gene that links intelligence and grey matter found' and 'IVF births hit record high in USA' (by Chee Hoe) - and keep an eye out for more of their work in coming weeks. Remember, you can subscribe to BioNews for free here.