Pupils Get an Insight into Life Behind a Lab Coat

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Pupils from a Redditch school spent the day making DNA smoothies and carrying out DNA tests as part of a biology taster event at the University of Worcester.

The University’s Institute of Science and the Environment hosted the event to give schoolchildren an insight into life behind a lab coat.

Eleven students, from Trinity High School in Redditch, spent the day in the University’s Darwin lab with Dr Lee Byrne, Dr Mike Wheeler and Mark Cook.

The students were given an overview by Dr Byrne of what it was like to study Biology at Worcester, the kinds of research that members of staff were involved in and crucially the kind of jobs that a degree in Biology might enable them to consider in the future.

The students then had an intensive practical session including making an ‘alcoholic banana DNA smoothie’, making an agarose gel and running DNA to figure out a forensic ‘whodunnit’ and identifying human white blood cells by microscopy.

Dr Byrne said: “The session was a great success. The students were really eager and enthusiastic and it was a great pleasure to spend half a day with them. The feedback from Trinity High was excellent.”

Trinity teacher, Carnea Woods, said that the students had a “fantastic day” and Head of Sixth Form, Jeremy Petit, said he knew “that next term, when in year 13, many of these students will put University of Worcester down as one of their choices”.

Dr Byrne added: “It was a great day and we hope to put on many more ‘Discover Biology @ Worcester’ sessions. Many thanks also to Biology undergraduate Dragana Catici, Dr Karen Blackmore, from the Institute of Education, and Mike’s lab assistant, Susan Harding, for their help and showing such great enthusiasm with the students.”

Any schools interested in taking part in Discovery Days at the University of Worcester should contact the Schools and Colleges Liaison Service at or call 01905 855393.