Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

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Public Engagement Blog

Welcome to the Public Engagement Blog! This blog was created to allow Institute staff & students to share their stories and comments on public engagement events and activities as well as providing a space for our researchers to discuss scientific topics and about their life in the lab.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Babraham Institute.

Passion, enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge at Schools’ Day

Jo Montgomery, a member of the Babraham Bioinformatics group, describes how Schools’ Day projects bring out the best in scientists and students


Cambridge Academy for Science & Technology students find inspiration for their investigations

The ‘Protein Challenge’ project at the Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology combines an introduction to key molecular biology techniques and practical lab-based sessions to assay protein activity. Here the students tell us more about what they got up to on their recent visit to the Institute to learn more about our research and facilities


The excitement of science communication

In November, as part of 360 Science, we invited science author and broadcaster Kat Arney to visit the Institute to talk about her career and offer tips on getting started in communications. Here Christina Courreges, a PhD student from the Lymphocyte Signalling Laboratory, reflects on Kat’s presentation and what she took away from it.


St Faith’s trip to the Babraham Institute

A class of year 6 children from St. Faith's School recently visited the Imaging Facility on campus to learn more about cells. They were thrilled to see the  microscopes and detailed images that we can take on them. They also used the microscopes we have as resource for our public engagement programme to look at a range of slides and the nematode worm C.elegans. We received a wonderful thank you letter from each child which highlighted how much they had enjoyed the afternoon.


Let’s create an exhibition

In November the Institute heard it was successful in the competitive selection to showcase its upcoming exhibition, the “Race Against the Ageing Clock”, at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London this summer. Esther van Vliet, Public Engagement Officer, is part of the exhibit development team and shares here how work has begun on the creation of the exhibit.


Learning to talk about my research

Chiara Pantarelli, a 3rd year PhD student in Heidi Welch's group at the Babraham Institute took part in a recent Media Training day to help her to build her skills in talking to a wide audience about her research.


Engagement Highlights 2017!

At this special festive time, Tacita Croucher, the Institute's Public Engagement Manager reflects on the public engagement work our staff and students have been organising and participating in this year.


ORION @ENGAGE - Esther's baptism of fire!

About a month ago Esther van Vliet joined the Public Engagement team at the Babraham Institute as a maternity cover to work on the ORION project, a Horizon2020 European Commission funded project that aims to explore new ways to open up the way the Institute does research. Her baptism of fire happened last week at the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s annual conference ENGAGE.


Launching Challenge Projects in the Netherlands

Alex Harvey, an Animal Technician in the Institute’s animal unit (BSU) describes how she joined Boo Virk (a postdoc in the Casanueva Group) and Dorottya Horkai (a PhD student in the Houseley Group) and the Public Engagement team's Michael Hinton in the third year of a collaboration with Sophianum School in the Netherlands.


Pipetting Workshop at Newmarket Academy Science Club

John Pascall, who is a regular contributor to the Babraham Institute's Public Engagement activities, describes the challenges of going back to school at Newmarket Academy.


Making our Mark at Big Biology Day

Prof. Wolf Reik, Associate Director of the Babraham Institute and Head of the Epigenetics Research Programme was part of a team of scientists who took a new exhibit on Epigenetics to Big Biology Day at Hills Road Sixth Form College in October.


Chromos VR at Science Museum Lates

Zahra Fahmi, a researcher in the Lipkow laboratory, describes her involvement in the Chromos project showcase at the ‘CelluLates’ event at the Science Museum, London


Schools' Day - igniting a passion for science

As he starts to plan Schools' Day for 2018, Michael Hinton, part of the Public Engagement team, looks back at the event in previous years and reports views from students, teachers and from both junior and senior researchers who run projects on the day.


​Success for The Royal Society Worm Project at Cambridge Young Scientist Journal Conference

Guest blogger Ella Willsmore, a student at Colchester County High School for Girls, describes her experiences at the Young Scientist Journal conference in Cambridge, during which she won a prize for her poster, which outlined her work with Olivia Casanueva's group on a Royal Society Partnership project.


The Pampisford Society visit labs and facilities

The public engagement programme at the Babraham Institute seeks to engage people of all ages. As well as working with school students and teachers, the Institute interacts with adult community groups from across Cambridgeshire.  Here Tacita, the Institute’s Public Engagement Manager, discusses a recent event with the Pampisford Society.


Summer student placements - it's more than just the lab work!

Shaun Png is another undergraduate on a summer placement, working in Rahul Roychoudhuri's group. He explains how it's not just being at the bench that makes the Babraham Institute a great place to work.


What do you expect from scientific research? Come and tell us!

ORION is a EU funded project to facilitate Open Science and Responsible Research and Innovation in the Babraham Institute and other European research funding and performing organisations. Open Science is about making research more accessible, which is increasingly important for improving the quality of research and for assessing it. Whether citizen or researcher, this project needs you. Get involved! 


Summer student placements - an undergraduate's view

In the second of a series of posts written by summer placement students, undergraduate Alice Buckingham explains her project and what brought her to the Institute.


Summer student placements - a sixth-form perspective

Millie is an A level student who joined the Institute during summer 2017 to gain a few week's of experience of working in the lab. Each year we welcome a number of students from schools and universities to work on short-term project that help them to develop their skills and confidence in research. Here Millie explains how her placement led her to discover the complexities of Bioinformatics.


A technical services perspective on Public Engagement

Run as part of the visit by Generating Genius students as described in the previous blog, Oliver Burns from the Institute's Technical Services team describes the interactive tour he has developed to show visiting students how much work it takes to keep a research lab working safely.


Generating Genius

Emma Minihane and Richard Odle meet with students from Generating Genius to discuss career options in STEM.


Inspiring the next generation of scientists?

Kirsti Hornigold, from Heidi Welch's group, ran science workshops for Year 2 and Year 3 at her childrens' school in Saffron Walden


Speaking about genome folding in a pub – my Pint of Science experience

Clara Novo, a Post-doctoral research scientist in the Rugg-Gunn lab, describes how the Pint of Science scheme and collaboration with a jewellery maker have brought her research to a new audience.


Pint of Science – Where science meets beer and art

Dorotty Horkai, from the Institute's Lipidomics Facility, explains how she helped organise this years Pint Of Science festival in Cambridge