TRIDENT Cup wins BRAIN top prize at conference for third consecutive year


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TRIDENT Cup wins BRAIN top prize at conference for third consecutive year

The TRIDENT Cup engagement activity was debuted at the Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) Conference, at Cardiff’s SWALEC Cricket Stadium, on 25 October and went on to win the Best Interactive Stand award.

The success marks the third consecutive year that the BRAIN Unit has won this prize for their engagement initiatives, following Operation Brain and the ‘Splodge on the Brain’ art project receiving the most votes from delegates at the previous two events.


The TRIDENT Cup, was a game re purposed from PhD student Zoe Noakes’ Stem Cell Mini Golf, following a hugely successful run at the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (MRC CNGG) Cardiff’s Summer Fair. Inspired by the TRIDENT trial, the game was meant to symbolise obstacles encountered in order to complete clinical trials and the practical challenges of reaching specific areas of the brain for treatment of neurological conditions.

With the golf ball symbolising fetal cells, the aim was to guide the ball, navigating through the obstacles on the course in order to reach the striatum. Each obstacle symbolised different challenges within the trial such as ethics approval, regulatory, and participant availability and eligibility. If the ball rolled off the course the trial would fail.

Participants were invited to play a game of golf and attempt to get a hole in one, overcoming obstacles to get the ball into the striatum at the end, recording how many shots it took to sink the ball into the hole.

The competition had a steady flow of inquisitive and competitive participants, attracting health professionals, academics and lay representatives from across Wales, with players practising their best swings in order to win the top prizes.

Debuting the TRIDENT Cup with a hole in one

Best interactive stand award

“We are incredibly happy to have been able to win this award for the BRAIN Unit a third time,” said Manager of the BRAIN Unit, Dr Cassy Ashman.

“The conference was a great opportunity to get delegates thinking about the importance of public involvement in research, whether at a clinical trials level or shaping research grants in the way Astrid Burrell, a BRAIN Involve member and TRIDENT trial co-applicant, also present on the day, has done. It is our aim to stress the importance of research in finding more effective therapies for Huntington’s disease and the other conditions that we cover.”

BRAIN Unit Clinical Research Fellow Dr Feras Sharouf, is working on the TRIDENT Trial and explains

“The TRIDENT trial is looking at the safety of transplanting brain cells into the striatum of people with Huntington’s Disease. It is thought that in a potential future therapy, ‘healthy’ cells could replace those that are lost in this region of the brain. It was great helping Cassy and the team develop this public engagement activity, as public support is key in clinical trials such as this.”

Dr Cassy Ashman adds,

“It was really rewarding to see our game engaging people at the conference to learn more about TRIDENT; I’d like to thank our communications officer Camila Araya-Larrain, and members of the TRIDENT team Dr Feras Sharouf and Dr Cheney Drew for all their help on developing the activity. Let’s hope we can deliver again at next year’s conference and showcase more of the exciting research we do at the BRAIN Unit!”

Find out more about the BRAIN Unit here: