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Worm Wagon will be wonder at Great British Bioscience Festival

12 Nov 2014

University scientists behind the Worm Wagon will be highlighting the impact of several world diseases and infections through their Top Trump cards, which include the vital statistics on Ebola, at The Great British Bioscience Festival

Dr Sheena Cruickshank from the Faulty of Life Sciences is one of just 20 exhibitors chosen from across the country by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to take part in the Festival which opens on Thursday, 14 November. As well as the Worm Wagon researchers from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology will be part of an exhibit called The Complex Life of Sugars. This explains the science of sugars and highlights recent discoveries made in university laboratories. Through experiments, model building, animation and games the scientists will demonstrate how their discoveries are being applied in the areas of bioenergy and biomaterial production.

The Great British Bioscience Festival is the culmination of a year long tour, enabling visitors to explore the fascinating world of biology through interactive science exhibits from real scientists. It takes place from the 14 to the 16 November in Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, London.

Sheena says: “We’re really excited to be part of the GBBF, taking our scientific research out to the public. We’re hoping our interactive displays, jigsaws, videos and Top Trump cards on parasites and world diseases will really capture people’s imaginations. We have an important part to play in preventing the spread of infection. The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa shows how easily disease can spread when the correct procedures aren’t in place.”

The concept for the infection exhibit grew out of work Sheena has been doing with recent migrants to the country, teaching them about how to stop the spread of infection.

She continues: “As scientists I believe we have a duty to spend time outside of the laboratory telling people what we do and why we’re doing it. Working on infectious diseases isn’t just about staring down microscopes, it’s also about helping people to tackle the spread of these illnesses. Billions of people around the world are infected every year with conditions which range from the harmless to the fatal. Worm infection is also the major reason children in the developing world miss school. Here in the UK we are currently seeing the return of infections which had previously vanished or been very rare.”

Sheena’s exhibit includes jigsaws, videos, real worms and the chance to be photographed as a schistosome parasite. The Top Trump cards will also be available for children to take away and play with at home.

Further information

The Great British Bioscience festival is brought to you by BBSRC in partnership with LND Science Festival. Keep up to date with the latest festival news on Twitter using the hashtags #GBbioscifest and #LSF14.