The Unit has a comprehensive public engagement programme. This includes:
- visits to local schools and other organisations
- mentoring of young scientists
- participation in the Cambridge Science Festival, where we exhibit every year
- our annual Open Day
- involvement in other events for public understanding of science
- engagement with artists and designers on the artistic interpretation of our science
For further information about the activities of the Unit, please contact our Communications Manager, Penny Peck ( ).
The MRC MBU has participated in two Big Bang events this year.
The first was held on 28 June at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford Campus. We took our "Find My Mutant Fly" game, along with movies and posters explaining the Unit's research. We also took some fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) and used them to demonstrate how mutations in mitochondria might lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and motor neuron disease.
On Wednesday, 21 June 2017 the MRC MBU participated in the MRC's Festival of Medical Research and opened its doors to the public for its annual open day.
Our visitors were extremely interested to hear about the causes and effects of mitochondrial diseases, with explanations of the Unit's research towards the discovery and development of therapies.
Some of this research was shown in a practical demonstration, where fluorescent markings were used to observe the behaviour of fruit flies under a microscope.
Up close and personal with fluorescent fruit flies
On 14 March 2017, members of the MRC MBU visited Queen Edith’s Primary School to communicate their science to children in years 3 and 4. The activities included practical “bench” sessions and the assembly of protein structures using Lego models.
On 23 March, members of the Unit visited Mayfield Primary School where similar sessions were held with children in the reception classes.
Mike Murphy, Group Leader/PI of the MRC MBU, organised a Royal Society scientific discussion meeting entitled 'Chemical biology approaches to assessing and modulating mitochondria', bringing together biologists, chemists and clinicians to discuss recent developments in the field.
Select talks were subsequently published in an issue of Interface Focus as a record of work to date and as a stimulus to future work. The Royal Society spoke to Mike about his work, the meeting and how the field could progress.
On Thursday, 23 February 2017, members of the MRC MBU participated in 'Opportunities Ahead' - a careers fair for Cambridge school students aged 14 and older.
Through the use of videos, computer games and sequencing puzzles, our young visitors were given explanations of mitochondrial disorders and how they cause mitochondrial diseases.
The event was organised by Form the Future.