Now in its twenty-first year, Schools’ Day allows Babraham Institute and campus company researchers to convey the excitement and impact of their research and to provide students with first-hand experience of research using modern techniques and equipment. This year’s Schools’ Day was held on 4th March and was attended by over 100 secondary and sixth-form students from 13 local and not-so-local schools. The event was supported by a Scientific Outreach Grant from the Biochemical Society and contributions from Babraham Bioscience Technologies.
The day provided the opportunity for students to take part in two lab-based projects during the course of the day. Projects introduced students to concepts such as DNA packaging, computational biology, epigenetics and a range of molecular biology techniques. As well as the 20 lab-based projects run by Institute Group Leaders, PhD students and postdocs, there were science projects from Definigen and Crescendo Biologics, two companies on the Babraham Research Campus who work collaboratively with the Institute.
Martin Baker, a PhD student in Dr Heidi Welch’s group who hosted a project group said: “The students are really keen to try their hands at research. For each lab hosting a project, the students become our newest recruits; joining us as researchers to try out the techniques and equipment we use on a daily basis. Hopefully at the end of the day the students have a better understanding of what it means to be a scientist, as well as the techniques we use to probe the workings of life at the microscopic level. But our main priority is to ignite a passion for science in them.”
The day also offers learning opportunities for the students’ teachers. They met Institute scientists to learn about the cutting-edge technology offered by some of the Institute’s nine scientific facilities.
One of the participating teachers specifically welcomed the inclusion of projects relating to epigenetics, signalling pathways and gene activation because these topics are being introduced into the A Level curriculum. Student comments highlighted their enjoyment of meeting Institute researchers, learning about the Institute’s different areas of research and their applications and having access to modern scientific equipment.
In addition to learning more about life in a lab, the visiting students also participated in a new style panel-based careers session with Institute PhD students, Institute staff working in knowledge exchange and commercialisation and representatives from the campus company F-Star.
For more information please contact the Knowledge Exchange Office (01223) 496206, firstname.lastname@example.org
12 March 2015