The Roslin Institute inspires thousands of young ‘scientists’ at the Great British Bioscience Festival

Published: 18 November 2014

Twenty interactive exhibits from across the UK, including the “Flu Fighters” exhibit from The Roslin Institute and The Pirbright Institute, fascinated and inspired visitors, as they had the chance to conduct their own experiments, play games and even walk through a giant colon.

Over its three day duration, more than 6,500 visitors attended the festival, held in Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, and left feeling inspired.

The festival was the culmination of a year-long programme of activities marking BBSRC’s 20th anniversary – providing a unique opportunity for BBSRC and its scientists to bring awe-inspiring bioscience research to the public.

Influenza is a major global threat to human and animal health. The ‘Flu Fighters’ exhibit focussed on influenza viruses and the science behind the varied approaches to combating flu being developed at The Roslin Institute and Pirbright Institute. It showcased current research including GM animals, novel approaches to vaccines and diagnostic tests and host/virus genetics. The exhibit also demonstrated how flu transmits from animals to humans and highlighted the challenges of preventing large-scale outbreaks.

Nicola Stock, Public Engagement Officer at The Roslin Institute, said “The Great British Bioscience Festival was a great opportunity for the public to meet scientists, learn about the amazing research happening around the UK and find out the impact that it could have on their life.”

The ‘Flu Fighters’ exhibit provided an opportunity for visitors to run diagnostic tests on a chicken, design their own flu virus and discuss the pros and cons of genetic modification of animals.

Amongst the other exciting exhibits, visitors were able to witness the invisible electric world of bees, kill glowing bacteria and see new innovations like pain-free injections and replacement body parts.

Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive said: “BBSRC works with some of the most exciting and potentially far-reaching areas of research in bioscience, and must communicate with the public to respond to their aspirations and hopes for the future. The festival provided a unique opportunity to engage with the Great British public in a fun and interactive way – creating a truly amazing event.”

As part of BBSRC’s 20th anniversary programme, members of the public were invited to get creative with bioscience through the Images with Impact and Knit-a-bug competitions. Beautiful and inspirational pictures and knitted bugs were on display at the festival, providing brilliant opportunities to showcase interesting perspectives on the range of world-leading bioscience BBSRC fund in the UK.

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