Microbes and Me at the Bloomsbury Festival
25 October 2013
Staff and research students from UCL Eastman Dental Institute took part in last week's Bloomsbury Festival, giving the public an insight into the world of microbiology.
The Bloomsbury Festival this year ran 15-20 October, drawing tens of thousands of people to celebrate the area of central London that UCL calls home. On the Saturday, the Institute set up in Russell Square, a ten minute walk from its facilities on Gray's Inn Road.
Led by Dr Dave Spratt and Dr Derren Ready from the Institute's department of Microbial Diseases, a team of staff and students provided an interactive exhibition entitled Microbes and Me in which participants could assess the cleanliness of their hands and see the effects of handshaking upon infection transmission.
Children had the chance to design their own bugs, making a colourful pencil-top decoration out of craft materials to represent a microbe. Each attribute was discussed in the context of how microbes use them, e.g.'tails' (flagella) for swimming and 'eyes' (receptors) for seeing.
On behalf of the Institute and its charity EFFORT, the day was part of a commitment to engage with the general public, beyond the scientific community. The well-attended and received event was an opportunity to inspire and inform children and adults alike by explaining the work that takes place at the Institute and the benefits that it brings to individuals and society.