Biology and Geology Rock! 2017
25 October 2017
Biology and Geology Rock! 2017 took place on Saturday October 7 at the National Museum Cardiff. This is a highly successful, annual public event which is a partnership between Cardiff University and the National Museum Cardiff. The event is coordinated by Dr Fiona Wyllie from the School of Biosciences and is an interactive event designed to excite, inspire and educate visitors about the vast range of bioscience topics available at the University.
CITER was represented by Dr Sophie Gilbert, Dr Malgorzata Rozanowska, Zubeyde Bayram-Weston, Irina Erchova, Clotilde Haury and Joshua Twigg who talked to families about the work of CITER and how research can be translated directly to the bedside.
Throughout the day, 3680 visitors took part in the hands-on activities which included CITER's extremely popular interactive scientific outreach activities; Maggot Racing, "Operation Man" and the Microbiology Society funded "Blast-a-Biofilm" activity.
The Blast-a-Biofilm CITER activity demonstrates the difference between non-adherent bacteria and bacteria in a biofilm. This activity was demonstrated by using dental plaque as an example of biofilms. As part of this activity children used plasticine to model "bacteria", with hair gel as the extracellular polymeric substance to form a biofilm matrix (slime). The children had lots of fun trying to “blast” first the free, non-adherent bacteria, then the biofilms they built using water pistols. The outcome is that biofilms are much harder to remove, which allowed our students to explain to the children the importance of regular brushing to remove dental plaque. The children loved destroying the hair-gel biofilms with water pistols, and also learned about oral hygiene and why brushing their teeth regularly is so important - much to their parents delight!
Clotilde Haury commented "it was a great pleasure to see many kids and their parents visiting the event and having fun at the stands....also being interested in learning about the science that complemented each stand". It also reminded us, as scientists, the importance of sharing our knowledge to promote health and science, to build and strengthen trust, and improve understanding between the public and researchers.
CITER returns to the Museum next year on 13 October 2018 so please put the date in your diaries!