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Night at the Museum @Natural History Museum

It’s not every day that you are asked to share your event venue with Dippy the Diplodocus. So when we were approached by the Natural History Museum to take part in their late night event, we couldn’t resist.

‘Science Uncovered’ sees the museum doors open until 10pm and the exhibition rooms taken over by researchers from every walk of science. Members of the public are encouraged to meet active researchers and to find out more about their day jobs.

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We decided to use the opportunity to talk to the public about reprogramming technologies; how adult human cells can be reconditioned to become pluripotent (meaning they can make all cells in the body). This technique was first discovered in 2006 and has become an integral tool in stem cell research.

 

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By playing with sweets, some (pretty retro) pipettes and coloured water, visitors learnt about the miraculous combination of 4 genes that causes cells to lose their mature identity. We soon learnt that this demonstration was as popular with the grown-ups as with the children. 

 

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Our more artistic visitors used play-doh to learn about all of the mature cell-types that a blood stem cell can create.

 

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Huge thanks to our fantastic team of researchers who were always on-hand to discuss, debate and inspire! (left to right): Emily Calderbank, Antonella Santoro, Elena Itskovitch. (Not pictured) Masaki Kinoshita, Maria Barreira Gonzalez, Agata Kurowski.

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The Cambridge Stem Cell Institute is a world-leading centre for stem cell research.

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