We believe that engaging the public with the science that we do is an important part of our work. We visits 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 falcon tubes.
The children 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 by showing parasitic worm samples. Popular questions are: “where’s its face?” and “can you eat it?” Schools also visit our labs at UCL.
We use microscopes to show the children the cells we work with and how they look when they are infected with Green Fluorescent Protein encoding viruses. We show the children blood smears and they 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.
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 18 sep 13 21:32 by Jane Lorna Elizabeth Turner