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High School class given glimpse of molecular biology in action

Uxbridge-High visit

Pupils put theory into practice as Brunel’s biosciences team opened up their lab for a hands-on demonstration of molecular cloning.

Modern molecular biology techniques, such as molecular cloning, are notoriously hard to revise for school students. The concepts are important, because they are central to a wide range of important technical and medical applications.

However, the theoretical knowledge is very abstract and schools rarely have the necessary equipment to provide students with a hands-on demonstration.

To support their theoretical knowledge with some laboratory experience, Brunel’s biosciences team opened up their lab for a hands-on demonstration of common molecular biology techniques for the year 13 students from Uxbridge High School.

Amrit Mangat, a science teacher at Uxbridge High School, said: “The collaboration with the researchers at the Division of Biosciences has given our students the great opportunity to reinforce their understanding of DNA technology theories studied in school, improve their practical skills in a postgraduate laboratory, and get a valuable insight into university life.”

Radim Asil, one of the student visitors, added: “Our trip to Brunel was a fantastic opportunity to see how the theory is put into practice. I would recommend it to anyone, as it really helps with your understanding of the theoretical knowledge."

Biosciences lecturer Dr Christian Rudolph said the visit was an eye-opening experience for pupils, adding: “It’s one thing discussing these techniques in class, but another entirely when they can see the direct link between their education and the incredibly important work that is done in laboratories around the world.”

The event, held two years ago as a pilot in the teaching laboratories of the Division of Biosciences, was such a success that it was not only repeated for the third time but will be a regular occurrence in future years.