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Biology News

25 Mar 2019
The Babraham Institute celebrated 25 years of inspiring young people and six Hills Road Biology students, Mariana Gee Olmedilla, Ellen Chaplin, Annie Hsieh, Renata Loberto, Aleena Benoy and Celine Peng took part this year in the annual Schools Day event.

Ian Harvey, Biology teacher and former Head of Biology at Hills Road has been involved with the project since day one. He said “Schools Day is an opportunity for students to experience work in a research lab and talk to scientists involved in cutting-edge research. It gives students the chance to see what a real research lab looks like; students are used to school labs and a research lab looks absolutely nothing like it. They see a real research environment and maybe get a glimpse into their own future when they themselves will be involved in pioneering research. Schools day is about educating, enthusing and inspiring our future scientists.”

Ian was recently invited to the BBC studios in Cambridge as part of the Cambridge Science Festival where two Hills Road Biology students, Paige Yau and Charlotte Buttercase, were filmed eating insects! They appeared in the BBC’s Look East programme showcasing the importance of insects as a food source in many parts of the world and why using insects for food has much less of an environmental impact than rearing cattle and sheep.

Charlotte and Paige
Paige and Charlotte at the BBC studios in Cambridge

In addition to appearing on the BBC Look East programme, Ian and 30 Hills Road Biology students exhibited at the Cambridge Science Festival event at the Guildhall on 16th and 17th March. Students engaged and enthused the thousands of visitors with a variety of biological specimens, smells and arthropod quizzes and the fiendish mirror tracing challenge!

Ian said “It’s a joy every year to work alongside our students at the Science Festival. Their ability to communicate biology to a hugely varied audience is so impressive and they are great ambassadors for both the College and young people. I get so many compliments from visitors and other exhibitors about our students and I tell them what a privilege it is for me to teach these students. I give them opportunities and then watch them in action!”

Big Biology Day (BBD) 2019 is now being planned at college for October 5th. This will be the 8th BBD in partnership with Cambridge Science Festival, AstraZeneca and Company of Biologists. It’s a free public engagement event which attracts over 2000 visitors and 40 exhibitors with hands-on biology and careers guidance. Hills Road biology students will again be central to the success of the day!

Recently three Hills Road students, Charlotte Buttercase, Ellen Chaplin and Rachel O’Sullivan, took part in Young Pharma organised by Cambridge University Department of Pharmacology. This involved four sessions getting hands-on with biological materials such as a beating heart and ileum, investigating the effects of drugs and presenting their work as a poster. Out of 16 students, Ellen was awarded the prize for best poster!

Charlotte, Rachel and Ellen at the Department of Pharmacology