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Superbugs: A Pop-Up Science Shop (29th July – 11th August)

26 July 2019

Image of the Superbugs storefront

Ever wondered what micro-organisms are living on your skin? Drop into our interactive lab in the heart of Cardiff’s busy shopping centre to find out, and you can even get pictures of them!

Cardiff University researchers are setting up a shop with a difference, offering free interactive games and laboratory activities to families visiting the city centre.

‘Superbugs’ will be located on the upper level of St David’s 2 (opposite the Apple shop) for two weeks during the summer holidays. Focusing on the global challenge of antibiotic resistance, it offers a mixture of activities including games, arts and crafts and laboratory experiments.

The event is funded and supported by Wellcome and Cardiff University’s Systems Immunity Research Institute.

Activity stations include:

  • Grow Your Own Microbes: test yourself for bacteria and our team will grow your swab samples in a lab and post photos online so that you can see what’s been living on your body.
  • Create Your Own Microbes: an arts and crafts station where you can ‘create your own bacteria’
  • The Spread of Antibiotic Resistance: find out how bacteria share and spread resistance (includes ring toss game)
  • Microscope Station: take a closer look at different types of bacteria down a microscope.
a young boy looking down a microscope

Dr Jonathan Tyrrell, from the Systems Immunity Research Institute at Cardiff University, said: “One of our areas of research is the serious global issue of antibiotic resistance, which is limiting the drugs we have available to treat infections. But we scientists are not the only ones who can tackle this problem; we can all make a difference by being aware of the bacteria in, on and around us, how they are spread and how they become resilient to antibiotics.”

Visitors to the Superbugs pop-up will also learn how their body fights ‘bad’ germs that make us sick and uses ‘friendly’ germs to keep us fit, how antibiotics work, and why it is sometimes better not to take them.

Dr Tyrrell said: “It’s estimated that antimicrobial resistance could kill about 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia by 2050, unless more is done to tackle the issue.

“We hope our pop-up lab will make more people aware of this growing problem while giving children a taste of some of the world-leading research that our local health scientists do. Also, it’s a great pit-stop for the kids if you’re out shopping for the day.”

Superbugs activities are primarily aimed at children ages 6 – 12, but the information provided will be of great interest to those both younger and older with an interest in science and a passion for making discoveries.

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