Family-friendly open day at world-famous Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge will offer amazing insight
PUBLISHED: 16:44 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:45 20 June 2017
‘Nobel Prize factory’ offers activities, talks and demonstrations on Saturday June 17
Want to extract DNA from a banana or control a robotic arm with your own brain-machine interface?
On Saturday June 17 you can, as Cambridge’s own ‘Nobel Prize factory’ – the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology - throws open its doors for an open day.
With family activities, guided tours, live demonstrations and engaging talks, the free event from 10am-4pm offers a rare opportunity to visit one of the most prestigious research facilities anywhere in the world.
Hundreds of scientists, researchers and support staff will welcome visitors to the start-of-the-art facility, which was officially opened on Cambridge Biomedical Campus by the Queen in 2013.
Aimed at informing and inspiring, the open day offers visitors the chance to:
• See mini-brains growing under a microscope and discover how they are used to study brain development
• Meet a giant parasitic worm and learn about the body’s immune response
• Control a robotic arm with your own brain–machine interface in the Cyber Olympics
• Try your hand at DNA DIY: build your own double helix and complete DNA jigsaws
• Put on a lab coat and become a scientist investigating the building blocks of life – DNA, RNA and protein.
Talks on the latest scientific discoveries and panel discussions on ‘how to be a scientist’ will be held at the Medical Research Council facility.
Cell biologist Simon Bullock told the Cambridge Independent: “We are funded by the taxpayer and this is a great chance to show the public what we are doing with that money in this building and the important benefits. It’s also a chance for the public to meet scientists and hear their stories.
“I’m personally really keen to inform young people about science – even at a really young age – to spark an interest that hopefully will stay with them.”
The open day is the second the LMB has run – the first being when it moved to the new site in 2013. It suits all ages – from young children and teenagers to adults.
“Most of the questions we had last time on the tour were from parents or young people about how they could get into science,” said Simon.
There are few better places to learn about that. The lab has won an incredible 10 Nobel prizes and many other scientific honours over the years. Watson and Crick won their Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA, while Venki Ramakrishnan won for uncovering the structure of the ribosome, a key target for the development of new antibiotics.
Techniques pioneered at the LMB include DNA sequencing by Fred Sanger, and the development of monoclonal antibodies, which are used to help treat cancer and rheumatoid arthritis and account for a third of all new treatments. Six of the top-selling drugs are antibodies.
Its pioneering research has furthered mankind’s understanding of complex systems, such as the immune system and the brain, and improved healthcare.
The open day is part of the MRC Festival of Medical Research, running from June 17-25 and featuring other events in Cambridge and throughout the UK.
MRC-LMB Open Day - all the details
Timing: Saturday June 17, 10am-4pm
Address: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Francis Crick Avenue, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, CB2 0QH
Facilities: Free on-site parking will be available. Refreshments will be available to purchase in the restaurant (indoor and outdoor picnic areas will also be available).
Twitter: @MRC_LMB #LMBOpenDay
MRC Festival of Medical Research – see all the events in Cambridge