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Laboratory open day to help teenagers improve their health

Published: 12 October 2018
Laboratory open day
A-level students gain insight into their health during University laboratory open day

A-level students from across the South took part in a laboratory open day at the University of Southampton to further their knowledge about their own bodies and health.

More than 60 Year 12 students took part in experiments on stem cells, big genome data bases, molecular biology and nutrient analysis in the Institute of Developmental Sciences (IDS) as well as questioned University scientists on their research.

The event aimed to give students greater science insight into their health. They discovered that the decisions they make about what they eat and drink, and the environment they live in, can impact on their health into old age, but also on the health of their future children. It also aimed to inspire and encourage them to think about science as a potential career choice.

Dr Lucy Green, Associate Professor in Developmental Physiology, organised the event and said: “Meeting scientists and taking part in experiments encourages this young teenage audience to think about some important areas of science in the earliest stages of development. It gets them to re-assess the things that make them healthy.  But it is also a great opportunity to start conversations, show them what potential career they could have and what science could mean to their life."

She continued: “For us as scientists, events like this, changes the way we think about our research and improves our ability to communicate. Young people are the future – what they think about what makes them healthy matters to them and their future children.”

During the open day the students also devised questions that will be put to a panel of experts at the University of Southampton’s ‘Fake Food!’ event on the 21st November 2018. The Question Time-style event will explore the big food issues that matter from the very earliest points of development and across the life course.

The panel will include Nathan Atkinson, Headteacher and creator of Fuel for Schools; Dr Sarah Jarvis from BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show and the Dr Giles Yeo, an appetite and obesity scientist, author and BBC broadcaster, alongside University of Southampton researchers.

Dr Green added: “The subject of food draws on several core strengths at the University, from developmental origins, to nutrition, to stem cell biology, and to food security. We are delighted to welcome this distinguished panel and the questions the students have devised will be sure to add to the informative and lively debate.”

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Students are welcomed to University laboratory open day
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A-level students conduct experiments relating to their health
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Students conduct liver sections to test for fatty liver disease
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Professor Chris Torrens with students
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The event aimed to give students greater science insight into their health

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