Summer School at the Institute of Integrative Biology

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Jay Hinton summer interns July 2017
A-level and undergraduate students gain hands-on experience in the lab

There is no shortage of students wishing to take a step into the world of scientific research. A mix of undergraduates and A-Level students are taking advantage of the opportunity to get a hands on experience in the Institute of Integrative Biology labs.

Hinton Lab Intern Week

Annually, the Hinton Lab at the Institute of Integrative Biology, invites A-level students to spend time learning new skills whilst working on a chosen project within a research lab. This year’s project was 'Swab and Send', in collaboration with Dr Adam Roberts from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The students were looking for new antibiotic producing bacteria by swabbing bank notes from around the world. The project aims to combat the very real threat that antimicrobial resistance poses to our health.

For one week, seven students supervised by PhD students, Caisey Pulford and Wai Yee Fong, learned techniques in making media for agar plates, inoculating bacteria, gram staining and microscopy. Sarah Stockton undertook the placement to gain vital experience in order to apply to study Biomedical Science at university. She heard about the placement from Prof Jay Hinton at a University of Liverpool Open day. Lucy Harrison plans to study Genetics at university and was keen to take part in the placement after hearing Caisey Pulford, PhD student of Prof Jay Hinton, give a talk at her school.

Professor Hinton said “Every year it is a pleasure to welcome the next generation of scientists to work in our research lab. It is inspiring to see the levels of interest of these students as they take on quite a challenging set of experiments. By teaming up with the 'Swab and Send' project, the students could discover bacteria that produce novel antibiotics. We are very grateful for the financial support from the Wellcome Trust which allows my lab to run this Intern week”.

Jay Hinton summer interns July 2017

Putting theory into practice - transferring cultures onto slides for gram staining

Nuffield Student Placements

The Nuffield Foundation provides over 1,000 students a year, between the ages of 16-18, the opportunity to experience working in a research environment alongside professional scientists. This year, the Institute of Integrative Biology plays host to six Nuffield students on placement. They are Owen Egan, Charlie Fogg and Matthew Kyprian from Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy; Tamia Han from Upton-by-Chester High School; Mona Khodary from Calderstones School and Fahda Albaba from Archbishop Blanch School. Over a period of four weeks, they will be supervised by Dr Tom Price, Dr Violaine See, Dr Andrea Betancourt and Dr Daimark Bennett.

During their placement, Nuffield students will be engaged in a current research project and work alongside a mixed team of scientists, undergraduate and masters students. Owen Egan and Tamia Han, working with Dr Tom Price, will be examining whether or not the increased temperatures associated with climate change will affect male fertility and put certain species at risk, as it is known that an increased temperature can damage or kill sperm. “Being a part of a project such as this, will allow the students to learn new techniques and bring the subject of biology out of the textbook and into their hands,” said Dr Tom Price.

As well as the students working with Hinton Lab and on Nuffield placements, Ian Winstanley from Winstanley College is gaining valuable experience working alongside an active research team led by Prof Christiane Hertz-Fowler, Deputy Head of the Institute, for six weeks. At university, he plans to study computer science and this placement, which involves programming and scripting, will give him a taste of the possible future careers that will be open to him.
Prof Christiane Hertz-Fowler said: “The students on these placements will benefit from experiencing the research environment before having to apply for Higher Education or in the case of undergraduates, provide them with further practical skills and insight into whether pursuing a career in research would suit them. These experiences are invaluable, an insider look into the world of research and an opportunity to make connections in academia. All in a setting that will be new, exciting and at a University known for its research excellence. What better way to inspire the next generation of scientists?”

For more information about the 'Swab and Send' project, visit the Facebook page. For Hinton Lab, visit http://www.hintonlab.com/ and follow #HintonLabInterns2017 on Twitter, and for more on the Nuffield Foundation visit http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/