Invisible Spectrum engages with minority communities with the goal of informing, inspiring and empowering community members to become active participants in the national conversation on research and science. This year’s event will build upon the success of two previous Science Week events, with a focus on producing a deeper engagement with the ethnic minority community of Bangladeshis in Ireland.
We have chosen to focus our Science Week event on the ethnic minority community of Bangladeshi origin in Ireland, who often encounter barriers when engaging with STEM. Our goal is to enhance their understanding and appreciation of science and research, focusing on cancer research and its potential impact on health and wellbeing as an example. We also hope to encourage Bangladeshi families to foster an interest in science in their children, and support them in STEM career choices.
Ethnic minority groups are truly ‘invisible’ in the cancer research spectrum - the vast majority of research studies in the field of cancer and genetics have been focused on white Caucasian populations, and minority groups such as South East Asians are significantly under-represented. These groups are also much less likely to engage with population health screening programmes, leading to poorer health outcomes. Delineating the biases and barriers affecting minority populations, and understanding their perspective on cancer research, screening, genomics and underlying technologies is vital to make national strategies on cancer control and genomic health inclusive, diverse, and consequential from the Irish perspective.
The 2022 Invisible Spectrum event was held on Saturday, 19th November. Our 3rd annual event, this was the first time that we could hold on in-person event thanks to easing of Covid restrictions and financial support from Science Foundation Ireland. Featuring talks from researchers, separate breakout sessions for men and women, networking and discussion oppurtunites and even a cell biology focused art workshop for children, the day was a huge success. We want to thank all of our speakers and volunteers who gave up their time on a weeeknd to help out with this important event. Even more importantly, we thank all the members of the Bangladeshi community within Ireland who came along and participated so enthusiastically and in particualr those members of the community who assisted with advertising the event and providing translations and other support on the day.
Dr. Jessica Ralston introducing the event followed by Prof. Walter Kolch providing an overview of the role of personalising cancer treatment and the POI research programme. Dr. Arman Rahman assisting with translation
Elaine Quinn provides an overview of the Patient Voices in Cancer Research (PVCR) advocacy group. Dr. Zahika Shah of the Irish Cancer Society talks on the importance of early detection in cancer treatment.
POI researchers Dr. Sharmila Biswas (left) and Kathleen Mitchelson (right) provided attendees with an overview of their research findings.