April was a busy time here at Cell EXPLORERS HQ! We were part of the Bio-EXPLORERS Easter Camp 2015 which ran from the 7th-10th April. At the camp young scientists learned about Our Bodies, Cells, How cells get their energy and DNA by performing experiments and activities with us. They also learned all about bugs, both big and small, and ecology, with Dr. Michel Dugon of Eco-EXPLORERS!
We also took part in the Teen Tech event, the first one in Ireland, which ran in NUI Galway on the 17th April. 1st year students from secondary schools around Galway had the chance to complete a 10 minute challenge with us - extract some DNA!
The 25th April was NUI Galway Open Day. Cell EXPLORERS had a stall in Aras Na Mac Leinn where students could meet with us and learn about outreach in the School of Natural Sciences. We were also a part of the Science Experience workshop.
April 25th was also international DNA Day, a day to celebrate the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953 and all the achievements in studying DNA since then. As part of this, Cell EXPLORERS, with the BSc in Biomedical Sciences degree and the lab of Dr. Derek Morris, ran a DNA Day practical laboratory experience for senior cycle secondary school students on the 25th April. This practical was created by our Cell EXPLORERS science outreach final year project students and was designed to give secondary school students the chance to gain hands on experience of molecular biology techniques and to learn about DNA analysis in different contexts.
Finally, on the 28th and 29th April Cell EXPLORERS travelled to the University of Limerick where a new branch, Cell EXPLORERS UL, is being set up! Training with the new Cell EXPLORERS UL team took place in the UL health science laboratories with a school visit to Scoil Ide taking place the next day. Thanks to all the enthusiastic new members of the Cell EXPLORERS UL team and to the coordinators Dr. Audrey O'Grady and Stephanie Brosnan. And thanks to SFI Discover, who have funded this national expansion. Our next trip will be to Athlone IT in two weeks to set up a Cell EXPLORERS Athlone team there. We are very excited for the Science Week 2015 when the new Cell EXPLORERS teams will be visiting schools in their localities!