You can follow the IBMS via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and newsletter.
Situated on the south bank of the River Clyde, the Glasgow Science Centre provided a superb venue and opportunity, for an enthusiastic group of ten biomedical scientist volunteers from across the Scottish region to present 'Meet the Secret Service of the NHS'.
Crazy hair virus from Nicole, aged 6
Organised in collaboration with the Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) and sponsored by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), in this IBMS Centenary year - Meet the Expert programme was organised to promote the diverse biomedical science disciplines.
During the Glasgow holiday weekend (21st -24th Sept 2012) the GSC welcomed 4,020 visitors. Pre-prepared advertisements - What's on at the GSC - outlined our plans and invited the visitors to get hands on experience of biomedical science, in our specifically designed interactive sessions. We had an excellent location, situated - in the main thoroughfare of the Healthy Teeth exhibition. We estimated that in excess of 700 visitors interacted with the biomedical science volunteers over the four days.
Our aims harmonised with those of Glasgow Science Centre, where interactive sessions were designed to engage and inspire visitors of all ages encouraging them to practise 'Forensic Science for the Living' searching and looking for clues to complete quizzes or elements of the sessions they participated in. In turn we increased public awareness of the services provided across the diverse disciplines of 'The Secret service of the NHS'.
Our backdrop included some of the IBMS Centenary posters – Biomedical Science through the years together with a rolling slide show demonstrated activities from across the various disciplines.
Visitors were invited to explore a number of activities.
Excitement was created through the 'Magic microscope box'. With the aid of a home made microscope, designed by Owen, we were able to illustrate to visitors of all ages how microscopes work, peering down the microscope to view the colourful pictures demonstrating a variety of cells, this was backed up with fluffy and friendly cells inside the magic box.
Jigsaws, created from laminated photographs of the fluffy cells were a hit! The concentration on the faces of the kids as they completed the jigsaws and the competitive streak as they competed to see how many smiley faced red blood cells they could find hidden in the picture.
Many questions from adults were raised here; one particular question came from someone who had donated bone marrow to their brother, with a successful outcome. Demonstrating pictures of blood and bone marrow smears, Owen patiently explained the investigations that would have been performed by the Haematology laboratory Staff, linking closely to the blood transfusion and microbiology activities. It was heartening to see the recognition in the participants face and the genuine thank you for the work delivered behind the scenes by biomedical scientists.
Haematology blood cell morphology was brought to life with a slide show of various cell nuclei in all sorts of formations from a 'love heart' to a 'monkey' – superb and entertaining.
There was flexibility in delivering the intricacies of blood transfusion.
A poster displaying ABO and Rh Blood group agglutination reactions formed part of this exhibit.
Laminated pictures of red blood cells and IgM class antibodies were used to demonstrate a giant haem-agglutination reaction where the red cell /IgM complex could be visualised.
Gel cards, showing agglutination reactions, were used as the basis of a quiz where participants were invited to read and interpret the blood groups (after the initial introduction to haem-agglutination).
A mock blood bank, using laminated pictures of blood packs, was set up from which the correct type of blood to match the patient could be selected. Allowing demonstration of the importance of providing the correct blood type or the consequence of getting it wrong!
The flexibility in the props used for this session is such that they have been utilised for children from Primary 4-5 through to students and adults. There was insufficient space to play the action games for this activity, however in a school setting these props can be utilised where there is space to play the games.
Visitors to the blood transfusion exhibit posed a variety of enquiries including a:
Charlie Houston demonstrating chromatography to a member of GSC Staff
In this session visitors were introduced to a few of the separation techniques used in Biochemistry; manual sorting, centrifugation, filtration and chromatography. Application of basic chromatography techniques was used to investigate and identify the colour make up of water based felt tip pens. There was a quiz with prizes provided by the Glasgow Science Centre. Again this was an excellent interactive session.
The start of the growth phase of our microbiology culture!!
This session was by far our most popular interactive event, having a constant flow of visitors of all ages. Slides and pictures of microbes including, viruses, parasites, bacteria and fungi - some from the historical archives, provided participants with inspiration through size, shape, colour and route of infection.
The challenge posed was to utilise the craft materials to 'design your own microbe', giving thought to the route of infection, how it may be spread and to give the new genetically modified organism a tongue twister name.
Using craft materials to provide texture, colour, and shape; the kids produced an effluent growth of micro-organisms.
A brainy bug was designed which if you were infected with it made you lose your memory – I reckoned that I had caught it!….Mairiead thought she was a carrier.
On Friday there was an exponential growth phase of organisms, Saturday was slightly quieter and made me think of the lag phase of growth...we were able to draw breath between sessions to replenish the craft boxes with materials.
Well known faces such as Derek Bishop, IBMS President offered his support on the Saturday he designed a microbe Clostridium elpresidentii.
Betty Kyle (IBMS in Scotland Chair), and several other IBMS Committee members came along to the GSC, over the weekend, with their families, a great time was had by all. The biomedical science volunteers very much appreciated their support.
The Sunday and Monday sessions were extremely busy too.
One wee three year old sat patiently for about 45 minutes and designed what looked like a Giardia lamblia.
Other kids twisted, turned and stuck pipe cleaners of all colours. Sparkley beads, pom-poms, buttons, glitter, ribbon and coloured pencils were utilised to create cell organelles.
We had many fantastic creative designs. In addition to spreading the word of Biomedical Science to those who attended this session we had a few kids who came back to collect their design to take home or to school. With an IBMS goody bag our Biomedical Science design your own microbe was infectiously spread into the community.
Following on from the design your own microbe we had a hand hygiene session. This was a favourite with Parents wanting to let their kids see the importance of hand washing. We demonstrated how easily infection could spread using a glow-box and fluorescent hand gel.
Building partnerships and communicating science within the community a few of our Biomedical Scientist, STEM ambassadors volunteered to work with teachers (who attended with their own families) in taking our interactive sessions into the classroom in local schools. Contact details were exchanged. For further information on becoming a STEM ambassador see www.stemnet.org.uk for further information.
We were hoarse and tired by the end of the weekend – however we all thoroughly enjoyed representing 'The Secret Service of the NHS' and hopefully inspired our participants to spread the news of IBMS into the wider community. Our title and catch phrase coined by Jackie Wales was delivered – the catch phrase has stuck!
The biggest compliment of the weekend came from another public servant, a retired policeman whose beat was Glasgow city centre. He recalled his own experience of the chaos that can be a busy casualty department during which his interactions were with the not so secret service of the NHS i.e. nursing and medical staff. The Science Centre event raised his awareness of the behind the scene activities of the NHS and he warmly congratulated us on our efforts and raising public awareness on the work done by biomedical scientists: 'The Secret Service of the NHS'.
Lastly a huge thank you to the excellent team of volunteer biomedical scientists.
Owen Jones - haematology, Cross House - Ayrshire and Arran
Fiona Reynolds -microbiology, Southern General Hospital , Glasgow
Laura Jane Scott - virology, Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow
Azra Sharif Qayyum - microbiology, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Lothian
Aileen Hendry - haematology, Monklands, Lanarkshire
Mairiead MacLennan - microbiology, Quality& Training Manager, Kirkcaldy, Fife
Hani Bibawi - haematology, Ninewells Hosp, Dundee
Jackie Wales - haematology, POCT and Training , GG&C
Charlie Houston - biochemistry, Inverclyde Royal Hospital
Diane Anderson - South East Clinical SNBTS, Training Manager, ERI
The 'Secret Service' has been invited back to deliver sessions during National Science and Engineering week 15th - 23rd March 2013.
Glasgow Science Centre BodyWorks Live Lab Exhibition will be launched on March 27th 2013. During the School Easter holidays - April 2013, we have been invited to participate in the above exhibition. IBMS will continue their partnership with the GSC through providing sponsorship during 2012-13. See the GSC web site for further information see: www.glasgowsciencecentre.org
We would welcome other biomedical scientists who are interested in communicating science to the public and would like to work along side us when we design, prepare and deliver the sessions for March and April 2013.