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Cell EXPLORERS return to in-person GSTF!

Extract DNA, solve puzzles, and craft teeny tiny hearts – this is just fraction of what enthusiastic mini scientists and their families could do at the Cell EXPLORERS workshops at this year’s Exhibition Day November 13th at University of Galway, as part of Galway Science and Technology Festival (GSTF).


Together, our team of 37 volunteers delivered 11 sessions, directly engaging 410 young people and their family members.


Group photo of the all CE volunteers at the GSTF, along with University of Galway VP for engagement Prof. Paul Dodd (Far right). Photo by Aengus McMahon


This was the first return to facilitating in-person workshops at the GSTF Exhibition Day since 2019 – and what a whopping success it turned out to be! We had three hands-on science workshops on offer: Fantastic DNA, Little Cells, and our newly launched Escape Room.


In the Fantastic DNA workshop, young people (aged 8-12 years old) were introduced to the exciting world of living things, cells and DNA, and were guided by CE explainers on how to extract DNA from bananas. This workshop was led by CE volunteers Aoife O’Connell, Eimear Wallace and Obadiah Niybizi.


In the Little Cells workshops, young people (aged 4-6 years old) found out more about the organs of the body and their jobs, and got to make either a mini heart, nerve, or red blood cells from jumping clay – they could also turn this into a key charm or phone ring! This workshop was led by CE volunteers Alison Graham and Eoin Gillespie.


In the CE Escape room, young people (aged 12 years and up) searched for clues, solved puzzles and conducted experiments to identify a patient with a virus to avoid a new lockdown and escape the room! This workshop was led by GROWS project manager, Dr Kristin Anderson.


The Fantastic DNA workshop room being set up by CE volunteers. Photo by CE volunteer Delon Earle

A young player opening up a coded lock in the CE Escape room. Photo by CE volunteer Delon Earle


Some teeny tiny heart cells made by children in the Little Cells workshop. Photo by Aengus McMahon

Participants could write little feedback messages after all workshops. Photo by Delon Earle


It was a fantastic day for everyone involved – which is reflected in the feedback left by participants!


"It was enjoyable - Katie my host was great. We had an amazing time, looking forward to doing it again, Thank you! (Fantastic DNA participant)
"Very interesting experiment, Thank you so much. The children are already asking us more about science" (Parent/Guardian)
"It was a really fun experiment. Angeline & Sravani are lovely girls!" (Parent/Guardian - Fantastic DNA)
"Very good presentation. Excellent learning for the kids and adults" (Parent/Guardian - Little Cells)
"Really well delivered workshop. Perfectly pitched at this age group. Merve & Chloe were super!! Thank you" (Parent/Guadian-Little Cells)

Thank you to the Galway Science Technology Festival and University of Galway for hosting us (and to their volunteers for managing our doors!) – and to all the young people and family members that got involved in some science for the day.


We are already looking forward to GSTF 2023!!


A note about the funders of our workshops delivered at GSTF:

The Cell EXPLORERS workshops delivered at GSTF were supported by Science Foundation Ireland and the US Medtronic Foundation. The Cell EXPLORERS programme is also supported by the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (and the previous School of Natural Sciences), the College of Science and Engineering and the Galway University Foundation at University of Galway. The operation of the National Network, development and dissemination of Fantastic DNA and Little Cells, and the development of the CE Escape Room and Science Club are supported by Science Foundation Ireland. The dissemination of the CE Escape Room and Science Club are supported by the Medtronic Foundation, under the Giving Real Opportunities to Widen participation in STEM (GROWS) project. ​


About Medtronic Foundation:

The Medtronic Foundation partners to improve lives for underserved and underrepresented populations worldwide, and support communities where Medtronic employees live and give. For more information, please

visit medtronicfoundation.org.



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