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BioQuarter researchers facilitate outreach activity at local high school

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Reproductive Health on Edinburgh BioQuarter facilitated an outreach activity at Preston Lodge High School, one of our local schools.

Ginnie Clark (Public Engagement and Communications Manager), Rocio Martinez-Aguilar (Maybin lab), Frankie Hearn-Yeates (Horne / EXPPECT lab), Grace Forsyth (Mitchell lab) and Marlene Magalhaes Pinto (Gentek lab) offered two groups of senior Biology students the chance to take part in a reproductive health themed scientific workshop on 6th March, followed by Q&A’s with the researchers.

The enthusiastic young scientists, aged 16 – 18 years, learned about the challenges of creating a new life from the successful fertilisation of an egg to the growth and development of an embryo and what is required to ensure the creation of a healthy human.

The students participated in microscope activity to discover how cells grow and change and what happens when cell growth goes wrong. They played ‘jigsaw cell match’ to reveal the role of different cells and organs within the body, experimented with fluorescence, studied the difference between healthy and diseased tissue, learned about the reproductive system of different animals by taking part in an interactive quiz, and worked out the different stages of embryo foetal development by examining mouse embryos.

Each workshop concluded with a Q&A and the students were invited to ask questions about different areas of reproductive health research and future career options.

The youngsters were extremely engaged and keen to ask researchers about study tips for future exams, the ethics of testing on animals, what kind of research they do in the CRH labs, and summaries of their career trajectories. Many were considering future careers in STEM.

This is a selection of  the positive anecdotal feedback received following the visit:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the visit from the researchers and it was very informative and interesting.

“It was encouraging to be able to speak to current and past STEM students as they spoke about reproductive biology and the other sciences are really like at university and the workplace. The hands-on experience of science was really interested.”

Amy Davanna

“It was interesting to hear about reproductive health research. I hadn’t realised it was such a broad topic that included cancer and research into animals as well.

“It was particularly cool to see the different stages of the mouse embryo because it made the changes very visual and easier to understand. It was really surprising to learn how quickly mice develop in the womb – their gestation period is only 3 weeks.

“It was also good to learn more about careers in health that aren’t in medicine and hear about the different pathways that are available.”

Kyle Forrest

“The students were very engaged in these workshops and the opportunity to partake in a reproductive health Q&A. It supported what we teach the students in Higher and Advanced Higher Biology, and offered valuable hands-on samples of lab activity and explored various new topics, which fascinated our young scientists.

“On the week of International Women’s Day (8th March), it was really empowering to see the all-female scientists!”

Mrs Susan Malamos, science teacher at Preston Lodge High School

The researchers  were delighted to visit the school in our neighbouring community, to encourage an interest in science and research and to teach the students more about reproductive health and hope to host other engagement activities with the school in the future.