The Pampisford Society visit labs and facilities

03 October, 2017

The Pampisford Society visit labs and facilities

The Pampisford Society visit labs and facilities

One of the most interesting parts of my role at the Institute is coordinating interactions between our researchers and community groups.  Providing not only an opportunity for the local community to find out more about the Institute and the research that is undertaken here but, also providing our researchers an opportunity to discuss their research and find out what the public think about it.

The Pampisford Society runs an excellent programme of evening talks and visits to discuss local history, archaeology, music, science and other subjects chosen by its members.  The Chairman of the group contacted us last year to arrange two events; a visit by one of our researchers and a visit to the Babraham Research Campus.  We were pleased to be able to accommodate both.

Firstly, Oliver Florey, a group leader from the Signalling research programme, visited the society in May.  Oliver discussed his research on cellular ‘eating’ which plays an important role in normal cellular functioning and can become un-regulated during aging or disease.  To find out more about Oliver’s research, see here and his latest publication here.

Following this, 20 members of the society visited the Institute on a rainy evening in June. It was a pleasure to welcome both old faces (Institute alumni) and new! During their visit, members of the society had presentations from me, Gavin Kelsey, a group leader from the Epigenetics research programme, and Csilla Varnai, a post-doctoral researcher in the Fraser research group, in the Nuclear Dynamics programme. 

Gavin gave an introduction to epigenetics – meaning how genes are marked to direct their activity or as a record of their developmental history –  before discussing his research about epigenetic memory and how this may be affected by factors such as diet. Csilla discussed how DNA is packaged inside the cell nucleus and how this packaging can affect the regulation of gene expression.  Csilla also described her work with music producer, Max Cooper and visual artist, Andy Lomas. Together they had used Csilla’s research data to create a piece of music and a visual representation of the dynamic process of chromosome folding during the cell cycle.  You can see the video and find out more here.

Finally, the group had a quick tour of the Institute (on account of the rain!), stopping to meet Rebecca Roberts in the Flow Cytometry Facility.  Rebecca was able to demonstrate some of the equipment Institute researchers use to look at cell populations and there was much interest in how many of the companies on the campus use Institute facilities too.