Biologists get hands on

Report by Mr Crudden

Lower Sixth Biology students visited the Liverpool University Life Science buildings on 12 July for a day of practical activities, lab tours and talks. After a brief introduction and welcome by Old Edwardian Dr Mike Speed, students were walked through the safety protocol for labs and then began a day of activities involving DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis and microscopy. A tour of the various laboratories at the Life Science building followed with particular emphasis on their specialities of microscopy and DNA sequencing, where students were amazed not by what they equipment could do but by the cost of the equipment (typical!).

After a brief lunch break enjoying a glorious sunny afternoon it was back to work.  There was an investigation into the five second rule and whether it is a suitable mantra to live your life by (it is not!), some genetic sequencing tasks and a look at where microbes live (hands, phone keys, computer key board, door handles etc).

The session ended with a quiz centred on the activities undertaken throughout the day, which ended with a tense tie-breaker challenge of drawing as detailed a diagram of DNA as was possible. Thanks to the students for working hard and listening so well to the instructors and a massive thanks to the lecturers and students at the University of Liverpool who gave up their time so willingly.

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