The Perse School

Upper students welcome experts to celebrate Science Week

27 Mar 2013

The Perse Upper was honoured to welcome several distinguished guests during Science Week, including Nobel prize-winning Chemist Sir John Walker, who gave a lecture on Mitochondrial research, and Professor David Spiegelhalter whose topic was the value of risk-taking.

The week began with Zoolab joining Year 7 students to support their studies on classification and enable them to see some of the animals in the different phyla and classes. Students had the opportunity to handle giant African land snails (which can grow up to 30cm in length), stick insects, Madagascan hissing cockroaches and a beautiful Californian corn snake. They also observed at close quarters the Chilean Rose Tarantula and a delicate tree frog. The Year 7 students were all up for the challenge of holding the animals and looking at the different features which allow biologists to classify them.

Midweek, students had the opportunity to meet a two year old African Pygmy Hedgehog when Natasha Ennew from Shepreth Wildlife Park Hedgehog Hospital came to School. She presented a fundraising certificate to Rachael Barlow of 7M before giving a talk on hedgehog conservation that prompted many questions about the Erinaceinae sub-family and the work of the conservation charity.

The School was delighted to welcome back Dr Guy Sutton from Medical Biology Interactive. Dr Sutton, who is a guest lecturer at Nottingham medical school, spent two days with Sixth Formers who are studying A Level Biology. He held a health and disease day with a focus on genetic and complex diseases, and gave a series of lectures on the brain during which pupils were able to handle a sheep brain that he dissected before them.

Five Upper Sixth biologists also had the recent privilege to enjoy being in the busy Babraham Institute laboratory with senior researchers and other students, learning techniques and using new equipment. They worked on projects as diverse as visualisation of intracellular membranes and proteins using fluorescence microscopy immunofluorescence, and epigenetic modification of the genome.

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