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Department of Genetics


School Visit, February 2024

Dr Welch visited KS3 and KS4 students and introduced the field of evolutionary genealogies, and tried to show how tracking allele frequencies and inferring genealogies gives us a set of tools for understanding all of life. He showed how the tools are both useful for tracking pathogen outbreaks, and essential for understanding the extraordinary examples of apparent design in nature.

Our volunteers were: Dr John Welch


Bright Horizons Nursery, March 2024

A team of volunteers from the Steventon Group attended Bright Horizons Nursery and hosted two activities.  The children had the opportunity to make liquid rainbows from liquids with different densities. The children also pipetted different coloured liquid into a 12-well plate to make a pattern.

Our volunteers were: Alejandra Guzman Herrera, Clara Mutschler, Nick New, Stephanie Telerman, Alice Yuen and Imen Lassadi


Cambridge Festival, March 2024

We had a fantastic team of volunteers help out at this year's Cambridge Festival.  On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March we ran various activities including extracting DNA from a strawberry, creating candy DNA and pipetting fun patterns.

Our volunteers were: Sean Scinta, Alexandra Neaverson, Tharini Kumar, Mark Fernandes, Aishani Chakraborty, Kate Baker, Juliette Davis, Ariella Weinberg-Shukron, Alexandre Porcher Fernandes, Alex Cagan, Dillan Saunders and Emily Kempin.


Magdalene College Residential, April 2024

The Department hosted fifteen Year 12 students from Merseyside and the Isle of Man as part of the annual Magdalene Residential.  The group was split into two and did the two organised activities: 

As a research group that uses fish and chick embryos as models to study development biology, the Steventon group guided pupils through various experimental techniques used in the lab. The goal was to spark the pupils' curiosity and inspire them to join the science community in exploring the wonders of the natural world.

Using a technique called windowing, the pupils were taught how to make a hole in the eggshell of 3-day old chick embryos. They observed the head, tail, beating heart, eyes, blood vessels and in some cases the early limb buds. They were also taught to inject ink underneath the embryo to increase contrast for better visualisation. (Activity ran by Bassel Arnaout, Alex Neaverson, and Yuri Takahashi)

The pupils were introduced to zebrafish development and shown live zebrafish at various developmental stages. They observed distinct anatomical features that are typically used to identify the age of the zebrafish. They were also taught to use the fluorescence microscope to visualise green fluorescent protein expressed in the neurons and pumping heart of transgenic zebrafish. (Activity ran by Carlos Camacho, Nick New, and Dillan Saunders)

The volunteers were Bassel Arnaout, Carlos Camacho, Alex Neaverson, Nick New, Dillan Saunders, and Yuri Takahashi

We split the groups into two, and started off with a short presentation on the basics of synthetic biology, and some of its common and interesting applications. We then ran a group brainstorming session, where both groups came up with some really interesting potential new applications of synthetic biology. From memory, one example was creating vegetables that taste nice; and a new way of producing energy in a renewable way.

The volunteers were: Lisa Milne, Jamie Terry, Cenyujia Wang, and Roger (Zijiao) Wang

Previous year's outreach and public engagement activities:

Interested in us participating in outreach/public engagement activities?  

Please contact Lottie Groocock