We believe that engaging the public with the science that we do is an important part of our work. We visit schools several times a year to explain what viruses are and how we investigate the biology of virus infection. We discuss how viruses spread using props such as hair gel with glitter “snot” and talcum powder "sneezes". We show how influenza re-assorts using bags of coloured tubes.
like the discussions of small pathogens versus large pathogens. We ask “How big
do you think the biggest pathogen is that can fit inside your body?” -
Turns out it’s 10m long! Doctors removed a 10m tapeworm from
Sally Mae Wallace in September 1991. We end the talk by showing parasitic worm
samples. Popular questions are: “where’s its face?” and “can you eat
it?”. The children then spend the afternoon pretending to be real scientists.
With the children wearing real lab coats, we use microscopes to show them the cells we work with and how they look when they are infected with Green Fluorescent Protein encoding viruses. They can see blood smear slides and have a go at precipitating DNA. They also try cell culture (water and red food dye) and finish off by designing their own pathogen using plasticine. Fun is had by all.
Schools also visit our labs at UCL.
Pictures of recent visits to Schools are shown at the links below:
We often receive great thank you pictures and letters from the children after their visits.
Roll your mouse over the names below to read some.
Page last modified on 04 may 16 12:04 by Jane Lorna Elizabeth Turner