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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Insights into university biological science for A level students

Published: 7 November 2013
A-level students

Sixth form students in Winchester have been designing and carrying out their own experiments with the help of lecturers and postgraduate research students from Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Sixteen A level students from Peter Symonds College presented their findings to academics, explaining their techniques and discussing potential areas of future research.

"We were very impressed with the students' scientific curiosity and enthusiasm to carry out the kind of experiments we do in higher education," says Lindy Holden-Dye, Professor of Neuroscience.

From Peter Symonds College
A level students

Some of the teenagers chose to investigate the effect of vitamins such as D and B12 and substances such as alcohol, caffeine, taurine and folic acid on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster or the worm C.elegans. Another group examined photoreceptor cells in eyes of different species, using one of the University's microscopes to produce images of cells.

"At A level you don't normally get the chance to design a practical project," explains student Oliver Meadows, who wants to go on to study medicine. "This has been a great opportunity to learn more about the work of professional scientists." Biology teacher Dr Julian Foster adds: "This collaboration with the University has been invaluable in helping our students carry out higher level research which they can then write up for a qualification."

Attended the national meetingf in London
Lord Winston

The students have now also presented their work at a national meeting in London which was attended by eminent scientists Lord (Robert) Winston and Professor Russell Foster.

The outreach initiative has been made possible by a Wellcome Trust Society award aimed at enthusing young people about scientific careers.

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