Researchers from Cardiff University recently showcased their pioneering cancer research to the public at the inaugural Cardiff Cancer Research Open Day. The event was well attended with over 300 attendees representing a huge diversity of people, from families with young children, older people, sixth form students interested in research related careers and cancer patients and their families, and even attracting media coverage.
The event showcased research from across the Cardiff Cancer Collaborative in multiple formats including a number of inspiring talks from experts in the field, interactive stands, lab tours, games and a “researcher café” to allow members of the public to engage directly with researchers to find out more about their life saving research.
Among the interactive stands were BSGCT exec member Alan Parker and his Cancer Research Wales funded PhD student Hanni Uusi-Kerttula, who were explaining how viruses can be adapted to fight tumours. Their stand included the opportunity for children (including big children) to build their own designer adenoviruses by folding and gluing cardboard cuts outs to represent the capsid, playdough for the penton base and all manner of colourful pipecleaners and pom poms to represent the fiber proteins.
Hanni explained: “using this simple kit, we were able to explain quite simply how we can change the virus to stop it using its native viral receptor to potentially using cancer restricted receptors”. “It has been a fantastic experience showcasing our research to children and other members of the public”
Alan continued “we have seen some really amazing models being made, and everyone has really enjoyed spending time making the viruses and learning about how we can tailor adenoviruses to help fight cancer”.
Dr Lee Campbell, Scientific Projects and Communications Manager for Cancer Research Wales, who fund much of the research being showcased, went on to describe his feeling on the open day “We are proud to fund a wide variety of inspiring cancer research in Wales, including Dr Alan Parker and his excellent and innovative research. It was inspiring to see everyone, especially the children, have such great fun building viruses whilst at the same time learning how these can be used to treat such a terrible disease as cancer”. Lee’s own blog on the event can be found here http://www.cancerresearchwales.co.uk/blog/cardiffs-inspiring-cancer-research-open-day/
Alexa Bishop, Research Engagement Manager – Wales and South West, who organised the whole event said “feedback from the event was universally emphatic – Every single feedback form said the event was above their expectations and a number of people commented about how inspiring the event was and how lovely all the scientists are and how well everything was explained. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and take something memorable about the cancer research in Cardiff.”
With glowing feedback like that, all we can say is “roll on the 2015 open day”.
In true Blue Peter fashion, one we made earlier!