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London International Youth Science Forum Visit the CGTRM

CGTRM Public engagement
Ella Hubber

Public Engagement Officer for the Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine

17 August 2022

The London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) is a two-week science summer camp for students aged 16-21 from around the world. During the summer camp, students visit world class laboratories and science universities. In the first visit to the department since 2019, ten LIYSF students had the opportunity to jump into an immersive experience with some of our researchers and technical staff.

Anna Salowka, Research Technician in the Spagnoli Lab, began the day with a seminar on stem cell biology, gene therapy, and the research we undertake at the CGTRM. This was followed by a tour of our state-of-the-art facilities by Technical Manager Matteo Battilocchi. The students then got to work, extracting DNA from strawberries and bananas at the lab bench, utilising the real tools our scientists use every day. This was led by Inês Tomás, a Research Assistant in the Watt Lab, who walked the students through the technical steps of the process and challenged them to think on how they could improve.

One of the visiting students Alexia (16), said “I loved it! It was fascinating!

LIYSF lab work

In the end, our goal of reliably determining which fruit contained the most DNA didn’t come to fruition, but the students learnt one of the most important lessons in scientific research: that it doesn’t always go to plan.

Both the students and the researchers benefited from the experience. Anna Salowka said that she found “hosting LIYSF students enjoyable and valuable” and an excellent environment to “overcome my fears and improve presenting skills”.

We look forward to LIYSF returning next year!

For further information on visiting the CGTRM with school or community groups please contact

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