On Saturday 12 March 2016, scientists from Pirbright headed to Innovate Guildford – a free festival of science and arts, where they showcased their research on influenza and insects.
The Innovate Guildford science and arts festival is part of the Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Nikki Nelson-Smith’s wider scheme ‘Inspiring Guildford’s Future Innovators’ and aims to show the younger generation how science and arts are now inextricably linked.
The Institute’s exhibit featured the Flu Fighters team who, together with Henrietta the diagnostic chicken, were able to show visitors how the influenza virus can infect many different animals including pig, birds and people.
Participants were able to experience how our scientists are developing new ways of diagnosing chickens out on the farm, discover how many types of flu there are and what we are doing to create new vaccines to combat this disease.
Along side our Flu Fighters were our entomologists (scientists that study insects), show-casing their research along with a selection of nasty disease-spreading insects! Visitors were able to see live species of midges (Culicoides nubeculosus) and mosquitoes (Culex pipiens) up close through our microscope, and learn how these insects spread diseases and the techniques we’re using to stop them.
Our entomologists Professor Luke Alphey, Dr Anthony Wilson and Dr Anusha Panjwani also featured in a series of talks held throughout the day, where they explained the important role that genetically modified (GM) insects could potentially play in controlling or even eradicating disease. They revealed the latest GM technology being used, how they can help prevent the spread of diseases such as the Zika virus and the stringent Government regulations in place to ensure safety and security.
If you couldn’t get there yourself, check out the images below of all the action on the day.