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Past Outreach Events

2 May 2017 - The microbes on us and around us: We can't see them but can't live without them

Agar Cake

On the evening of 2 May 2017 the School of Life Sciences hosts a series of fascinating talks, posters and demonstrations led by Professor Elizabeth Wellington. This Public Science evening was centred around the theme of the Microbiome - the microbes that live on and around you. With the help of Professor Ramesh Arasaradnam, Professor Laura Green, Professor Gary Bending and Dr Yin Chen; members of the public were treated to interesting discussions about how our microbiomes help us and the world around us including farm animals and plants.

Laboratory demonstrations were also given showcasing how work here in Life Sciences is examining antibiotic resistance genes and sewage effluent in the River Sowe.


10 April 2017 - Guinness World Book of Records Success for Stivichall Primary School with help from SLS

World Record Attempt

We have recently found out that Stivichall Primary School in Coventry has been awarded the world record for “the largest gathering of people dressed as scientists” with 489 people taking part. The attempt took place on the 9th July last year, as part of the school's summer fete and as a means of increasing STEM awareness after a range of STEM activities earlier in the year. This was done with the help of several SLS staff: Bruno Frenguelli, Surinder Bharma, Mike Cribdon, Emma Monaghan, Louise Whatford, Jess Gaudy and Jess Taylor. The school gave special thanks and huge credit to Gill Scott, Tracy McCusker and Gerry Keene for supplying the lab coats for the students to use and then sorting them out before/after the event. ‘Bruker UK Ltd’ also provided sponsorship of jelly-filled test tubes and mementos, as the regulations were that people had to be wearing a labcoat, safety glasses and holding a piece of scientific equipment (hence the test tubes). We would like to thank everyone from SLS who took part in this record breaking achievement and we look forward to hopefully doing more things like this in the future.


10 - 19 March 2017 - British Science Week Activities

This week saw lots of outreach activities from the School of Life Sciences to help promote British Science Week. British Science week is a 10-day programme of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) events and activities across the UK for people of all ages. SLS contributes to outreach activity and public engagement in many ways and Science week staff and students took part in a variety of events.

13th March: Satya Prakash was selected to present his research at the annual STEM for BRITAIN poster exhibition in the House of Commons. He spoke to MPs and discussed his work on ‘De novo engineering of RNA circuits in E.coli and directed evolution of novel biomolecules with phage’.

14th March: Dr Robert Spooner, Liam Riley and Rachel Clewes gave a practical lesson in PCR technology to the Year 13 students at Guilsborough Academy in Northampton.

16th March: Professor Kevin Moffat, Rachel Clewes, Liam Riley and Natassa Kanali gave practical lessons in digestion and brain anatomy which included making jelly brains to the Year 4 students at Stoke Primary School.

18th March: Dr Robert Spooner and Liam Riley took leeches, a poster and comics to showcase the uses of medicinal leeches to members of the public visiting the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust exhibition - Method in the Madness: Understanding Ourselves Then & Now.

SBPT Rob and Liam

7 February 2017 - The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust Warwick Food Security Lecture: Keeping Plant Pathogens at Bay

Food Security

On the evening of Tuesday 7 February, Professor Murray Grant led a Public Science event exploring the issues of Food Security faced by the global and local community. As the Elizabeth Creak chair in Food Security Murray was supported in this event by the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust.

This event was supported by various academics from both SLS in Gibbet Hill and SLS in Wellesbourne. Professor Murray Grant gave insightful and engaging talks on the state of food security across the world, plant science research that occurs within the department and on the growing threat banana wilt is having on our favourite fruit! A further talk was also given by Dr Miriam Gifford on how we can use beneficial microbes to support the growth of crops, including how we can use beneficial fungi to increase crop yield.

The public were also shown many key areas of plant research here in the school including how we are preparing to combat diamondback moth invasions, regional cuisine and beans, as well as viral and soil borne diseases of plants.

31 January 2017 - St Margaret's Primary School Family Learning Night

This evening saw Professor Kevin Moffat give a talk on the heart and demonstrate ECG machines to primary school children in Whitnash. This was a highly successful evening that saw children of all ages have fun learning about their heart and how we can measure it as scientists.

"The talk was really informative and entertaining for our families; it was wonderful to offer the extra dimension of using the ECG machines" - Dr Rebecca Ellis, Organiser.

See below a Pic-Collage the school made to show the success of the event.

Professor Moffat at Whitnash

25 November 2016 - The Fly Room

The Fly Room

On the afternoon of Friday 25 November 2016, Professor Kevin Moffat led a Public Science screening of the critically acclaimed arthouse film ‘The Fly Room’. This film centred around the famous Fly Room at the University of Columbia, run by Dr Thomas Hunt Morgan. It was here that the basic laws that govern heritability and the passing of traits were discovered – work that would eventually win their lab a Nobel Prize in 1933 and formed the foundation of the genetic discoveries that continue today. The focus of the film was on Dr Calvin Bridges and his daughter Betsy, and how their relationship evolved after a father-daughter visit to the lab. This film mixed science and arts in an attempt to not only engage the audience with the scientific story of genetics but also the social story about the relationship between a father and daughter.

After the film showing a Q&A with the director Alexis Gambis was held. Following that, a poster discussion about current Drosophila research from various West Midlands genetics researchers took place. Feedback from local residents and attendees was incredibly positive with many approving of the film:

‘Beautiful and intriguing. I loved the interplay between past and present, memories, dreams and reality’

Beautifully filmed piece on the analysis between relationships and science, with a great non-linear narrative’

‘Very engaging I loved the photography and the portrayal of characters and their relationships. Great alternative to a factual lecture in a sterile environment. The music score was great and enhanced the film, especially it’s gentle background presence. This film is a very effective medium to deliver a message, a story and idea. People enjoy stories’

‘Showing a film about science and relationships to an audience of scientists and non-scientists, the duality was there for the viewers as in the film. This is the best way to communicate science to the community’


15 November 2016 - Getting to Grips with Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance

On the evening of Tuesday 15 November, Dr David Roper led a Public Science event exploring the issues of antibiotic resistance in our community as well as around the world. Supported by Professor Elizabeth Wellington and Professor Chris Dowson, interesting and engaging talks were provided on issues such as resistance levels in our rivers and the search for new antibiotics.

The public were also given demonstrations on many key areas of research into antibiotics here in the School of Life Sciences including using 'electronic noses' to detect infection (showcased by members of Engineering as a part of the INTEGRATE AMR team). Demonstrations on how we can use medieval medicine to cure modern infections, how we can use bacterial viruses called Bacteriophage's to deal with antibiotic resistance and how/why TB is still killing people today were also showcased.


11 October 2016 - A Healthy Brain for a Healthy Life


On the evening of Tuesday 11 October Professor Nick Dale organised a public science event devoted to the human brain.

Members of the public were given the chance to find out about the cutting-edge neuroscience research taking place at the University of Warwick. Researchers gave demonstrations of science in action and tours of our laboratories. The event, ‘A healthy brain for a healthy life’, gave visitors the opportunity to find out how we can keep our brains in shape as we get older and how to put things right when the brain goes wrong. There was also a demonstration of how our sense of self can be tricked into adopting inanimate objects, and a Q&A session where people found out about all those brain queries they wanted to know but were too afraid to ask!

"Lovely mix of 'hard' science and interesting facts that were delivered well"

"The final talk on maintaining a healthy brain gave me a lot to think about and how I can improve my own health"

"I was able to take myself out of my comfort zone and learn something new"

July 2016 - Headstart Summer School

The School of Life Sciences welcomed the next generation of scientists from across the UK as part of a Headstart Summer School held during 17-21 July. This year we welcomed approximately 30 students to explore different disciplines within the School. During the summer school, students were exposed to practical aspects of Microbiology, Physiology and Cell Biology within the laboratory, inspiring lectures from leading experts and helpful advice regarding university applications. Not only this, but students had the opportunity to engage in sports activities on main campus and sample a range of food from across campus! Students were given a taste of university life and hopefully inspired to consider taking a Life Sciences degree in the future.

Discussing the summer school's aim Dr Phil Young, the organiser, said
"Headstart is a fantastic opportunity for A’ Level students to see the different types of teaching approaches employed in Higher Education. We want the students to be inspired to read a biological subject at University and to show them where that degree can take them.”

Organised by the EDT, Headstart has been established for more than 16 years as a charitable trust providing hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities and engineering taster courses to encourage young people into technology-based careers.

June 2016 - Kenilworth Show

Kenilworth Show

The School of Life Sciences Outreach Team and Warwick Crop Centre were at the Kenilworth Show on Saturday 4 June 2016. We demonstrated how the biological diversity of soil can be seen – we looked at soil from the bucket to the microscope. From the way plants grow to the organisms they interact with. Using rhizotrons, we investigated the way crops grow in the soil. We had posters, videos and demonstrations. Through microscopes we visualised different microorganisms, from single celled protozoans to bacteria and fungi – the good and the bad.

March 2016 - Big Bang Fair

Big BangWe took part in the Big Bang Fair at the NEC from 16-19 March 2016. The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK. At the Faulty of Science stand, visitors were able to view slime mold under a microscope and see how its external memory enables it to respond to light, heat, gravity and chemical (food) stimuli. It’s so adept at finding food, it will even solve a maze to reach a target nutrient! Find out more about this fascinating slime mold.

July 2015 - Year 11 Experience Health Sciences Summer School
Microscope workIn July 2015 we ran our Experience Health Science residential Summer School – a joint partnership between Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Warwick.

This exciting event was a free six day residential programme, exploring what it is like to study Life Sciences, Medicine and Anatomy, as well as exploring alternative routes and options of science related careers.

June 2015 - Cheltenham Science Festival

Cheltenham Science FestivalAs part of Warwick’s 50th anniversary celebrations the Faculty of Science hosted a marquee at this year’s Cheltenham Science Festival from 2-7 June 2015.

The Festival attracted over 45,000 visitors during the week and was organised by Charlotte Carroll, one of our Outreach Officers (a former PhD student in the School of Life Sciences).

More pictures and stories from the event can be found on our storify page.

June 2015 - Engaging with local schoolchildren about plants and the environment

Plants and the environmentIn June, Nicole Pereira from Warwick Crop Centre organised an outreach event at Snitterfield primary school to help the children of Class 3 with their plants and environment topic during the summer term. Assisted by Joana Vicente, Nicole talked about plants, flowers and the importance of pollination. Children were also given the opportunity to use microscopes to examine flower structures and several insects.

The School of Life Sciences is committed to the spread of biological research and knowledge into the local community.

Over the past year we have been involved in several Outreach and Public Engagement events across the West Midlands area, in schools, villages and here on campus.

This page will give you a sample of the work we do here in the department. If you have any queries please contact SLS dot Outreach at Warwick dot ac dot uk