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Open Day 2017

The LMB will be opening its doors to all on Saturday 17 June, 10am-4pm. There is no need to book – just turn up on the day! (last entry at 3.30pm)

Refreshments will be available to purchase, and the LMB car park will be open with free parking on a first-come first-served basis.

Hands-on activities

See Your Cells

Use a microscope to see your own cells with the help of LMB scientists!

children looking at brain modelFrom mini-brains in a dish to big brains in our heads

Mammalian brains come in many shapes and forms – can you match pictures of animals and their brains? Look down a microscope and see the brain organoids – little brains growing in a dish – that LMB scientists use to study brain development.

Science Detective

See the amazing hidden details of plants and insects as you test your detective skills with our stereomicroscope challenge

people looking through microscopeWorms are cleverer than you think

Find out how our scientists use a tiny worm to understand how our neurons work, and what goes wrong in disease and aging.  Look at live worms under a microscope, learn to navigate like a worm, and how they use their senses, in our sweet finding game.

Mighty Molecular Motors

Discover the tiny machines that organise the insides of our cells. Make your own models of these motors using pipe cleaners and pompoms.

virus wars exhibitVirus Wars

Scientists at the LMB are working to understand more about how viruses work and how the human immune system deals with them – with the goal of helping to find new treatments. Join us to find out more about viruses and antibodies and take part in our containment chamber challenge!

The Biological Building Site

Try your hand at DNA DIY: build a Lego double helix, explore base pairs with our unique DNA jigsaws and try to copy our giant DNA strands. Discover how cells label proteins to be recycled or destroyed using just a small pear-shaped protein, ubiquitin, and build your own ubiquitin chains. Through these activities learn how cells’ store and transmit information using a just a few basic shapes that can be combined and reorganised.

pipetting game

Nobel Treasure Hunt

Follow our special trail to track down pictures and information on some of the LMB’s Nobel prize winners. Anyone filling in all the Treasure Hunt questions correctly will win a prize!

Size a protein

Select a protein sample and discover what it is using our light scattering machine – you’ll get a print out of the results to keep. Learn why this technique is so critical to research at the LMB.

young boy with pipetteBuilding Blocks of Life: hands-on science lab

DNA is a component of all living things, and the information encoded in DNA is used to make proteins. Dress up as a scientist and extract DNA from bananas and strawberries. Try purifying proteins using chromatography.

Visualising Science: From Pencil to Computer

Explore the changing way science has been portrayed, from the early days of the MRC Unit in the 1950s to the current day, and see how developments in technology have enabled LMB scientists to illustrate and explain their discoveries to a wider audience. Discover items from the LMB Archive and Visual Aids Department as you walk through the LMB atrium.


Come on ‘behind the scenes’ tours of our labs and facilities to find out more about key areas of the LMB’s work. We’re offering tours of each of our four Divisions – Cell Biology, Neurobiology, Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry (PNAC) and Structural Studies. There will also be tours of the Molecular Immunity Unit (part of the University of Cambridge) which is housed at the LMB and tours of Building Services.

More information can be found at the Tour Information Desks in the atrium. Some tours require booking and there may be age restrictions.

How to catch a cheatCell Biology

Divisional Tour

The LMB’s Cell Biology Division aims to understand how cells and tissues are organised, and how this goes awry in disease. These questions are being addressed using yeast, fruit flies, nematode worms and mice, as well as tissue culture. Join one of the interactive Cell Biology tours to see a cross-section of work in the Division and chat to our scientists.

  • Times: every half hour from 10.30-15.00
  • Tour duration: 30-45 minutes
  • Suitable for: all ages

Mass spectrometry in sport: can you spot the athlete with the headache?

The worlds of analytical chemistry and professional sport might seem to be poles apart. But it’s analytical chemistry that enables sporting authorities to identify sportspeople guilty of “cheating”… taking substances that can give them a competitive advantage. Come and use one of the LMB’s cutting-edge Orbitrap mass spectrometers to analyse pretend urine and work out what substances athletes have been taking.

  • Times: drop-in – no booking required
  • Suitable for: adults and children (5+). Please note there will be constant background noise from the machines.

Neurobiology Lab ToursNeurobiology

Open Labs

Bertolotti Lab: Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, are caused by the dysfunction and death of specific nerve cells when misfolded proteins accumulate within them. Come and talk to scientists who are working to understand and prevent the deposition of these misfolded proteins.

Aricescu Lab: Learn about how scientists solve the structure of neurotransmitter receptors. Build neurotransmitter receptor structures using computers, see neuronal cultures and synapses under the microscope, and try playing the neuron board game.

Jefferis Lab: Interested in genetics? Come and hear about how flies can tell us about our brains. Or get a microscopic view of the molecules that allow our brain cells to communicate with each other.

Tripodi Lab: How does our brain control movements? And can we use the electrical signals that we produce to control machines or computers? Come along and participate in the first LMB Cyber-Olympics – control a robotic arm or a videogame with your own brain-machine interface!

Hastings Lab: Come into our open labs, talk to scientists and learn about their fascinating science. Find out about circadian clocks – are you a night owl or a morning lark? Discover how LMB scientists are aiming to tackle neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Times: drop-in – no booking required
  • Suitable for: all ages


Divisional Tour: Signalling pathways in cancer and the chemical origin of life

Come on a tour of the PNAC division. Visit the labs and learn about the research of five different labs through bite-size presentations.

  • Times: 10.30 / 11.30 / 14.00 / 15.00
  • Tour duration: 35-45 minutes
  • Suitable for: adults and supervised children (12+). Please note that no seating will be available during the tour.

Little but mean: cellular immunity to bacteria

Find out how your cellular defenses protect against invading bacteria. Watch videos of cells and bacteria fighting!

  • Times: 10.45 / 11.30 / 12.15 / 13.45 / 14.30 / 15.15
  • Tour duration: 25 minutes
  • Suitable for: adults and supervised children (12+). Please note that the tour will include standing in a dark room and that no seating will be available.

Worms and sneezes

Enter an immunology lab which is working to understand immunity and asthma. See models of giant parasitic worms – yes, they really can grow this big! See what happens during an immune response against worms, and during an asthma attack.

  • Times: drop-in – no booking required
  • Suitable for: all ages

Stem Cells & Robots (Part I: Robots)

Visit the genotyping lab and learn about how DNA is used to distinguish one individual from another. See the robotic liquid handling machines, capillary gels and PCR machines in action and learn about gene targeting.

  • Times: 10.35 / 11.05 / 11.35 / 13.35 / 14.05 / 14.35
  • Tour duration: 20 minutes
  • Suitable for: adults and supervised children (7+). Please note that no seating will be available during the tour.

Stem Cells & Robots (Part II: Stem Cells)

Visit the Stem Cell lab, look at live stem cells under the microscope and see how they turn into other cell types in the body. Learn how stem cells are used in research and how they are grown in the lab.

  • Times: 11.05 / 11.35 / 12.05 / 14.05 / 14.35 / 15.05
  • Tour duration: 20 minutes
  • Suitable for: adults and supervised children (7+). Please note that no seating will be available during the tour.

Come sort with me

Explore the fascinating world of flow cytometry, with a tour of the Flow Cytometry laboratory, and explanations on how a cell sorter works. Have a go at making sort decisions yourself with our colour-sorter game.

  • Times: 10.45 / 11.45 / 12.45 / 13.45 / 14.45
  • Tour duration: 30 minutes
  • Suitable for: adults and supervised children (5+). Please note that no seating will be available during the tour.

PNAC Lab ToursStructural Studies

Divisional Tour

Learn about one of three techniques that scientists in the LMB’s Structural Studies Division use to identify the structure of proteins: cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography and NMR. Follow a protein through the process of having its structure solved.

  • Times: 10.30 / 11.55 / 13.20 / 14.45
  • Tour duration: 75 minutes
  • Suitable for: adults and children (14+)

Mechanical Workshop

Drop into the LMB’s Mechanical Workshop where unique scientific instruments are designed and made. Try operating one of the machines to create your own LMB memento.

  • Times: drop-in – no booking required
  • Suitable for: all ages

Molecular Immunity Unit

Good viruses, bad viruses, and the evolution of sex

Learn from scientists about their research into viruses – how viruses can be ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and how components of viruses have enabled the evolution of sexual reproduction in biology.

Building Services

Behind-the-scenes building tour

See the mechanical and electrical systems that support the LMB’s science, including the Energy Centre, Interstitial Service Voids, Air Handling Units and Underground Service Tunnels.

  • Times: 10.30 / 11.45 / 13.00 / 14.15
  • Tour duration: 45 minutes, with Q&A at the end
  • Suitable for: adults and supervised children (14+). Please note there will be stairs to climb on this tour.


A programme of short talks aimed at non-scientists will take place in the Lecture Theatre. Talks will last 30mins and there will be time after for Q&A.

How do our brains help us make sense of the world?

10.30, Nicola Smyllie
Learn about your amazing brain! This talk gives a sneak preview to the LMB Neurobiology Division’s Open Labs where you can find out how worms, flies and mice can help us understand how our brains work. Delve into the work of the body clocks lab – discover what makes you tick and how scientists can study the clock in a dish!

Exploring the tiny machines inside your body

11.30, Sjors Scheres
Come and explore the world that is hidden deep inside your body, where tiny protein machines perform many tasks to keep you alive. Discover how tiny motor proteins walk around your cells and how we use microscopes that fill an entire room to study them.

Toasting the genome: how alcohol and aldehydes damage DNA

12.30, KJ Patel
Scientific discovery is a journey. KJ Patel talks about how studying a very rare human illness led us to uncover how alcohol might damage our DNA, and discusses our current understanding of how our bodies combat this damage.

How cells organise to keep you healthy

13.30, Manu Hegde
Did you know that each cell in your body contains billions of proteins that collectively carry out the biochemistry of life? Learn how these proteins get made, and how the cell manages to successfully organise all of them into numerous compartments. Accurate organisation is critical for avoiding illnesses such as neurodegeneration. Discover how cells get rid of misplaced or damaged proteins to stay organised and avoid disease.

Fun with diffraction and molecules

14.30, Brad Amos
In this interactive talk, given by Brad Amos, see diffraction patterns from real life – can you guess what pattern an object will create? Discover how diffraction patterns have been so important for uncovering the structure of tiny things biology.

…So you want to become a scientist?

11.00 & 14.15, Room 2N160
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a scientist? Are you considering pursuing a career in science? Are you excited by science, interested in how things work? Then this session is for you! Come and meet researchers at various stages of their careers from student to group leader. Hear how they got started in science and what is involved.

This session is aimed at 12-18 year olds and undergraduates interested in learning more about what a career in science is really like. The session will involve two short talks and opportunity for chats and discussion with our scientists.

How to Find Us

Click on the images to enlarge. More information on how to find us

LMB Open Day mailing list

We will be releasing our complete Open Day Programme in advance – sign up to our mailing list to be the first to receive it!

We will only email you regarding LMB events and will not use your details for any other purpose.

Take a look at our monthly LMB Open Day newsletters

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