Oxford IF is the annual festival of science and ideas in Oxfordshire. Researchers from WIMM and OCDEM interacted with several hundred visitors of all ages at the festival:
Cut and paste
A MRC WIMM team was at the Oxford Town Hall on the 13th of October to explain genome editing: visitors cut and pasted giant DNA molecules, and competed against the clock to ‘edit’ sick cells in the bone marrow, an activity inspired by the research at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit. A more adult audience found out how genome editing allows researchers at the MRC Human Immunology Unit to study how cells can fight deadly viruses such as HIV and Zika.
Using Virtual Reality to study skull development
Also on the Oxford Town Hall, the Wilkie and Goriely groups collaborated with Steve Taylor to tell the public about craniosynostosis, a serious condition restricting brain growth that affects 1 in 2,000 children. Visitors got hands on with inflatable brains to understand the condition, and tested their newly acquired knowledge in a virtual reality game.
Visit the Blood Factory
Meanwhile in the Oxford Academy in Littlemore on the 21st of October, other members of the MRC WIMM took visitors on a journey through the science of blood, using jelly beads to represent different blood components, listening to their own blood, and playing the role of immune cells detecting and fighting an infection.
Fat and Sugar - the science behind the hype
Also at Littlemore, a team from OCDEM sorted fact from fiction when it comes to food science. Visitors had a go at guessing just how much fat and sugar there was common takeaway meals, and found out how much fat and sugar there really is in many supposedly healthy snacks.
The Oxford IF is the annual festival of science and ideas in Oxfordshire, aiming ‘through a range of events and activity, inspire and support people of all ages and backgrounds to access ideas from research and innovation for the encouragement and exploration of individual and global potential’.