Summertime science in the New Forest
Students and staff from Biological Sciences have been taking science out of the laboratory to delight visitors to the annual New Forest Show.
Every July, around 95,000 people head for the showground at Brockenhurst to take part in country pursuits. This year, biological scientists showcased their research to parents and children in the busy Wessex Medical Trust tent which won first prize for the best local stand in the Show.
Dr Rob Ewing and his team took curious visitors on a journey through DNA and big data sets, describing how researchers can use Big Data from genomics and proteomics studies to analyse cancer cells. Professor Jessica Teeling and her colleagues talked about infections and the role of our immune system in health and disease. Dr Haruko Okamoto and her team/group spent a day at the stand to inform the public about acidity of coffee and lemon juice and her work on the proton pumping nanomotor enzyme V-ATPase.
“It’s important for scientists to reach out to the community to give people of all ages an insight into the world-leading research underway at their local university,” says Jessica. “Our displays highlighted many important health issues and hopefully inspired some of the young people to consider a career in the life sciences.”
Over the three day show, hands on activities were particularly popular with children, they were given the chance to make own 3D bug or immune cell, and even making snot! Reactions from the visitors included:
“I fancy making some snot- where is the snot-lab?”
“It is very good work you do- I have been an active person all my life but your stand is encouraging young and old to think more about our health.”
“I knew the immune system was complicated, but you have helped me understand using your displays and props.”
“I finally understand how treatment of AMD h antibodies works- I would not have understood a word if I had only read about it.”
“This is perfect for kids! You have to take the display to schools.”
“I want to take my bugs home and show everyone.”
“wowwww a 3D brain!”
"I didn't know Diet coke is less acidic than the regular one!"
The biological scientists shared the tent with University colleagues from LifeLab, cancer immunology, biomedical research, health sciences, surgery, dermatology and bone disease/epigenetics. The event was hosted by Peter Dawes from the Wessex Medical Research.