AN MP has visited the University of Liverpool to see how research scientists are using tiny particles to improve medicine.

As part of an exchange scheme set up by the Royal Society, the Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, Andrew Miller was shown around research facilities at the University’s Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology by nanomedicine researcher, Dr Philip Martin.

Mr Miller received hands on demonstrations of how the University’s scientists are using nano-particles – materials a millionth of a millimetre in size – to reduce toxic side effects and improve the effectiveness of drugs, including anti-retroviral drugs used to fight diseases such as HIV, and antimicrobial compounds used in combating multi-drug resistant bacterium such as Staphylococcus aureus and E.coli.

As well as helping out with lab work, he also met senior research staff from the Institute of Translational Medicine to discuss the issues and opportunities currently facing the research community.

Dr Martin said: “It’s crucial that government representatives have the opportunity to see the work that scientists carry out on a daily basis.

“Mr Miller is committed to supporting science in the UK, meeting our students in our facilities and gaining hands-on experience means he can return to parliament with a clear understanding of the health and economic benefits our research has to offer.”

The visit was the second part of a pairing scheme organised by the Royal Society, which began with Dr Martin shadowing Mr Miller in parliament in December.

The scheme is well established and several other Liverpool scientists have taken part, in order to demonstrate their work to MPs and to gain a better understanding of how science policy is informed and developed in Westminster.

Mr Miller said: “I’m a great fan of this scheme.

“Irrespective of their backgrounds, it is essential that MPs have a grasp of what’s happening in the science world.”