26 AS-level students on an intensive week of “Biology and Genetics for Gifted and Talented students” recently visited the LMB for a day of practical work. The residential course was run at Villiers Park Educational Trust, Foxton, Cambridgeshire and the students were nominated from schools all over the UK.
The aim of the week was to inspire these young people with a real passion for biological science, to help ensure a further generation of scientists. It was designed to push them beyond their standard A-level biology tuition, with classes and practicals being pitched at first-year degree level.
The day of practical work at the LMB aimed to reinforce the theoretical knowledge from classes held earlier in the week. This gave the students a rare opportunity to visit a world-class centre of research, to meet working scientists and be inspired that science is an exciting career choice. The students carried out plasmid DNA extractions and digests, built protein structures with 3-D molecular graphics and visualised adenoviruses with electron microscopes. They were fascinated by these sessions, and the chance to use state-of-the-art equipment, which they would normally not have access to.
The students were very positive about their visit to the LMB. Many said it had helped put their A-level science in context and helped them understand what goes on in a real laboratory:
“I particularly liked the plasmid experiment as that will be invaluable experience for university interviews and when I do my degree.”
“The best part was being allowed to handle equipment like the EM, which we aren’t usually allowed to do.”
“Thank you so much for the visit! It was great! And brilliant! And Amazing!”