Public Engagement

Carlton School pupils practice pipetting (left) and Isolate DNA (right)

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.

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 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.

You can view our 'What is Science?' slideshow (6.8Mb) and visit the Cells Alive website by clicking these links.

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.

To see pictures of our school visits over the years go to the Public Engagement Gallery. And to see our other public engagement activities visit our News page.

Pictures of recent visits to Schools are shown at the links below:

Gayhurst Community School, April 2016

Carlton School visit Gallery, 2014

Thank you!

Thank you pictures from school visits

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 07 nov 16 16:55 by Jane Lorna Elizabeth Turner