On Saturday 1st October, the MCRC had the pleasure of welcoming four schools from across the Greater Manchester area to a ‘taster day’, designed to bridge the gap between A-level studies and science as a career researcher.
The day followed a collaborative week of work experience between the MCRC and the CRUK Scotland Centre, with virtual lab sessions for students across Greater Manchester and the wider Glasgow area.
Thank you for this great opportunity, all the students enjoyed themselves and gained valuable insight into the world of work.
PhD student Parsa Parhady shows an A-level student how to use a pipette.
An A-level student in the hypoxia labs.
Following a lecture on the importance of science and the role of research in improving cancer outcomes by Professor Stephen Taylor – from the Division of Cancer Sciences at The University of Manchester – the students headed into the labs to try out some new skills.
Several sessions were led by Scientific Officer Steve Lyons from our Translational Oncogenomics team, alongside members of his laboratory and other scientists from the Institute, including Toni Banyard, Head of our Flow Cytometry Core Facility. Students learned why you use a Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) machine, how to mark and separate DNA, as well as visiting the hypoxia labs to explore the impact of gases in cells on cancer development. These sessions were all curated to align with the student’s A-level curriculum.
The students were provided with an opportunity to ask any questions they had around careers in science during a session led by Michelle Greenhalgh. She also explained her role in the MCRC Biobank. We were also joined by Martin Swinton, a Clinical Oncologist at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. who explained the important role of practising doctors in research, providing links between hospital bedside and lab bench.
Head of Flow Cytometry Toni Banyard explains fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis to the students.
What did you enjoy most about the event?
- We were able to get involved and talk to a variety of staff and scientists.
- We got the opportunity to carry out experiments which the researchers also do.
- The practical aspects of the day and being able to get hands-on experience.
- Getting do the actual practical work and gaining a greater understanding of what we learn in biology to real life application.
We were really pleased with the work experience week and felt like it was a fantastic success for the students who visited us. We look forward to seeing more future researchers from around the Greater Manchester area in our labs soon!
Thanks to everyone at the MCRC who made this day possible, especially Dr Steve Lyons’ laboratory team who gave their time and expertise to deliver high quality tasters to the next generation of scientists.
Thanks also to everyone who came, your teachers, and we hope that this day gave you a sense of what it’s like to be a career laboratory scientist.