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A warm welcome for Biology students at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

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Two groups of A level students spent the morning in an event at the Welcome Sanger Institute, in RSF (Research Support Facility) to showcase the facility and its suppliers. Their role is to supply experimental animal models of disease which are used to support our world-class research scientists. This work is essential in the fight against disease and advancing our knowledge. There were stands, posters and presentations for everyone to see and hear.  The stands were interactive and manned by animal technicians, health and safety dept and our suppliers who help us to keep the facility running smoothly and Long Road students had a very informative session asking questions and taking part in activities.

Peter won the first prize for the quickest time to put on full PPE and then remove it, well done. Many freebies were brought back as well as loads of interesting information. Students were able to learn at first hand that animal research is essential, to see how animal technicians support research at Wellcome Sanger Institute, and to see how laboratory animals are cared for.

Key suppliers showed and discussed how their products were used by the Institute to support laboratory animal health and welfare and good science. They also learnt what a career in laboratory animal’s care and welfare involves and how to begin this route.

Head of Department, David Jones, said the top 3 facts he learnt were…

  1. “Rodents are not legally allowed to see another rodent being operated on, the red Plexiglas containers are black to them so stress is reduced as they think they are in the dark”
  2. “All data from research at the Sanger Welcome institute is shared freely via the web”
  3. “Epigenetics means that my eating habits and lifestyle will affect my grandchildren”

While students Hannah and Oliver said the 3 top facts they came away with were…

  1. “Zebrafish are used for animal testing due to their development being fast. When they are in the early stages it is easy to view the development of internal organs and how if some of the DNA is removed or replaced the effects this has on the development of the fish.” – Hannah
  2. “There are regulations on the number of animals that can be kept in each cage that depend on the weight of the animals so regular weighing has to take place as to not break these regulations.” – Hannah
  3. “There are lots of licences that have to be obtained and renewed in order to perform the research that goes on at the Wellcome centre.” – Hannah
  4. “Mice brains are very similar to human ones” – Oliver
  5. “Depressed mice don’t like to swim” – Oliver
  6. “Building lego with cold proof gloves on is surprisingly difficult!” – Oliver

Click here to see all their photos from the trip!