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Biology students visit the Francis Crick Institute

Posted: 12th May 2015

The Francis Crick Institute is a medical research centre made up from the six most successful scientific and academic institutions. On 29th April, I along with other Biology students visited the institute.

The day began with a series of short but very detailed and interesting lectures. The topics ranged from the role of the immune system and its defence mechanisms in our body to the importance of animals in scientific research.

Subsequently, we were led to some workshops. These in particular were very interesting due to the fact it was research based. The workshops were led by PHD students and placement students who were involved in medical research at the institute. For example we were allowed to view a protein that had been crystallised. The 3D images of the tertiary structure were quite incredible.

The day ended with a quiz which consisted of specific questions in our specification and was helpful for revision purposes.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Institute due to the fact it gave me an idea of what a career in scientific research would be like.

Upon arriving at the institute, many of us, including myself were amazed at the sheer size and entire façade of the building. A series of short , insightful lectures were lined up for us shortly afterwards. It all began with a familiar revision of the Immune System, but turned into a detailed analysis of the components of the Immune system and the various hidden and tactful mechanisms we have in our own bodies, added to which, the talk was very well analogised to the idea of warfare and the army. 2 more lectures followed which were subsequently followed by several small and intriguing workshops, one of which included looking at a crystal in x-ray Crystallography with extremely cool 3D glasses!

Whilst merely rotating a few metres in a small room from one workshop to another, we felt privileged to have a glimpse of the deep and intricate discoveries these young scientific researchers have and are still making, even whilst completing their University degree. At the end of the trip, there was a quiz which included many of the sorts of things we had heard about on the day including a few questions relating to the topics on our syllabus, which was good revision.

On the whole it was a fantastic trip! I, as well as many of my class mates, was very impressed at the advances the scientific industry is making and hope to hear of the weird and wonderful discoveries yet to be made in the near future.

Written by Nimai and Ramiz, AS Biology students.

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