Wendy Bickmore and Andrea Venturato flew the flag for HumEn at European Researchers Night last Friday, 26th September. They took part in Explorothan 2014, the Scottish arm of the pan European event that aims to bring the general public and researchers together to discuss, debate and wonder about the many intriguing questions being asked by Europe's many researchers.
An evening screening of Stem Cell Revolutions at the cavernous 'Cabaret Voltaire' in Edinburgh, attracted a full house of 42 people interested in knowing more about the current realities of stem cell research. HumEn's Wendy Bickmore was on hand after the showing to discuss questions ranging from the effect regulation has on her personal research to whether it was biologically possible to create a human baby from an egg and sperm cell created from two female's skin cells (what do you think?).
Within the peaceful setting of Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, HumEn researcher Andrea Venturato was well placed for an afternoon of activities about his research with passing families. Andrea had created an activity that saw children rolling cells (ping pong balls) across different surfaces (a wooden ramp with different velcro patterns) to find the one they stuck to the most. An ingenious analogy with his work in the lab of Mark Bradley, which uses polymer spotted microarrays for large scale cell screening, with the hope of finding optimal surfaces to grow cells. With the focus of HumEn on growing insulin producing B cells for diabetes treatment, in his research Andreas will look at the favourite surfaces of endoderm and pancreatic cells. Andrea's first experience of engaging the general public with his work proved fun, rewarding and challenging and we can look forward to hearing about his experience in a Eurostemcell blog post.