University Challenge sphincter preservation is ‘no laughing matter’

Contestant’s course leader says it’s not funny

Queen Mary want you to stop making fun of their research after a University Challenge contestant made everyone laugh with her unusual sounding course. 

Medic Kate Lynes announced she was specialising in “sphincter preservation” on the uni quiz show last night.

Viewers all collectively lost it, finding the Queen Mary student’s research area hilarious – but her department didn’t agree.

Professor Sir Norman Williams, of the Blizard Institute at Queen Mary University of London told The Tab: “Sphincter preservation is certainly no laughing matter.”

He added: “Thanks for your interest in what, like many bowel problems, tends to be a taboo subject.

“But a great number of patients with rectal problems – including cancer – have to undergo major surgery.

“A significant proportion end up with a permanent stoma whereby the end of the bowel that remains is brought to the surface of the abdominal wall and the effluent is discharged into a bag.

“Whereas many patients who are left with a stoma endure it with equanimity some do not and suffer distressing psychological and physical problems.

“Most patients facing surgery with these rectal problems are often terrified they may end up with a stoma.”


‘I’m studying for an MD in sphincter preservation’

Speaking on his research, Professor Williams said: “For many years we together with other units around the world have been exploring methods and techniques which try to restore gastrointestinal continuity without the need for a permanent stoma but at the same time eradicate the disease.”

Kate Lynes has also spoken out about her research and experience on University Challenge.

She said: “The Twitter response was quite intense and slightly overwhelming.

“Some of the comments were amusing but it was interesting to see that there was very little awareness of the issues covered in our research.”

Discussing her unusual research topic, Kate said: “The sphincter muscles are found at the lowest part of the bowel and allow us to control the passage of waste from the body.

“The research is looking at ways to allow as many patients with rectal cancer to keeps their sphincters intact and allow them to have normal function following their treatment.

“Taking part in University Challenge has been amazing, it has always been my favourite TV programme.

“Being part of all girl team from QMUL felt like a great achievement and we all really enjoyed it.”

For some reason the Queen Mary English and Drama department couldn’t resist getting involved too.

They ordered Twitter users to stop laughing about sphincter preservation.

This isn’t the first time viewers have kicked up a fuss about University Challenge this series.

History student Kaamil Shah wore a leather chest and silver chain on the quiz show last month.


Kaamil Shah tried out a bold style choice on University Challenge in September

Kaamil, from King’s College Cambridge, said at the time: “I didn’t clock that the vest was going to be that outrageous.”

“Maybe it’s because I’m not as smart as those ordinary contestants, but I definitely didn’t want to wear a Christmas jumper or a boring suit, so I thought I’d just dress how I normally do.”