Last weekend, scientists from our Compton Laboratories joined bioscience researchers from across the UK at the Great British Science Festival in London. Thousands flocked to the event in Bethnal Green to find out how the latest research in bioscience helps to fuel us, feed us, and keeps us healthy.
Pirbright’s ‘Flu Fighters’ was one of 20 interactive exhibits that inspired festival visitors and gave them the opportunity to find out how our scientists along with those from our sister institute, Roslin, are developing ways to combat influenza virus. Interactive displays allowed the public to build their own flu virus, discover the meaning behind names such as ‘H5N1’ and to test a model chicken for flu to demonstrate how pen-side tests are being developed to give instantaneous results on the farm. .
Doctor Colin Butter, Head of the Avian Viral Immunology Group at Pirbright said: “The recent outbreak of bird flu in Yorkshire demonstrates how vital our research is in order to protect the UK from these potentially devastating diseases. We greatly valued the opportunity the festival provided to discuss this research with members of the public and listen to their concerns about the threat of flu to both animal and human health.”
Over its three day duration, more than 6,500 visitors attended the festival, which was the culmination of a year-long programme of activities marking BBSRC’s 20th anniversary.
Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive said: “BBSRC works with some of the most exciting and potentially far-reaching areas of research in bioscience, and must communicate with the public to respond to their aspirations and hopes for the future. The festival provided a unique opportunity to engage with the Great British public in a fun and interactive way – creating a truly amazing event.”
“We are very much looking forward to engaging with the public and sharing our passion bioscience.”