Racing into the future with The Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
The Cambridge Science Festival ran from the 12 - 25 March 2012 and this year celebrated the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the theme ‘Breaking boundaries’.
Staff from the Institute put on a fantastic exhibition in the Biology Zone promoting Stem Cells to all generations of visitors.
The team of twenty-five Ph.D students worked in shifts on 17th and 18th March to help the enthusiastic visitors understand the what's, why's, where's and how's of Stem Cell Biology.
Games to suit all ages
The giant board game (devised by EuroSyStem) was popular with the younger children, who raced to see which team could collect the most ‘differentiated’ cells in a set time. Ping-pong balls substituted for stem cells, and giant dice were thrown to determine the next move.
The Cell Pet experiment gave budding scientists a chance to test their skills with pipettes and syringes, learning in the process why we wear protective clothing, why cells are kept in an incubator and why they need feeding every day. Having deposited their clean and fed cells back into the incubator, they then moved to the microscope to see some real stem cells.
Parents were also given the chance to put their questions to the scientists. Some parents teamed up with their children to play the 'where are your stem cells?' game by sticking cut out internal organs in the right position inside a body outline. The EuroSyStem Cell Turnover computer game also proved an instructive way to learn about how quickly cells are produced inside the body.