At this year’s Imperial Festival, researchers in Computational and Systems Medicine (CSM) provided a number of activities for the public to get involved with some practical laboratory science.
Children and adults alike were invited to try their hand at some separations and investigate the composition of complex mixtures. In this instance, participants separated dyes using paper chromatography – employing the same underlying principles as we do for our routine bioanalysis – and could add their colourful creations to the ‘Wall of Fame”, creating a lovely collage over the Festival weekend.
“Crystals are Everyone’s Friends” continued to fascinate the visitors as evidenced by the large turnout at the stand (the fourth successive year we have run this activity at the Imperial Festival).
Our demonstrations of building proteins using sweets as amino acids was a big draw, so much so that the materials which usually last for both the days of the festival had to be replenished for Day 2 of the workshop. The follow-up from protein making to growing of protein crystals in real-time and then observing them under the microscope was equally enjoyed by all the visitors.
Over in the Family Zone, CSM contributed to the stand of “Love Your Bugs”, where festival-goers helped craft many different microbes with play dough – kids loved it! We also shared our knowledge on the microbiota through two games: microbes in and on our body and how they transmitted around our houses.
Thanks to everyone in CSM who helped deliver some excellent activities, and to all those who got stuck in! Roll on next year!
The Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies (CBIS) invited the public into its ‘Blast Rehabilitation Gymnasium’ at this year’s Imperial Festival. Part of the Centre’s work focuses on rehabilitation of those injured by blast, and many of these are amputees. Our stand therefore got the public trying out some balance exercises that physiotherapists use to help get amputees back to walking and doing Activities of Daily Life (ADLs).
We were also very lucky to have prosthetist, Mark Thoburn from Headley Court and Blatchford, showing the public a variety of different prosthetics, from old to new and from large to small.
For the younger visitors to the stand, we had a drawing and colouring competition, where we received over 150 colourful and creative entries, which was fantastic!
The stand was a great success because of the enthusiasm of our volunteers, both during the schools’ day and across the weekend. It was a great few days and we are already looking forward to next year!
Congratulations to Dr Chris Mullington (anaesthetist and PhD student with Dr Paul Strutton) for being awarded 1st place for best poster presentation at the Obstetric Anaesthesia 2018 meeting in Belfast for his work on mechanisms of hyperthermia following epidural extension for caesarean section.