Members of the public enjoy behind-the-scenes tours of Manchester laboratories as part of European City of Science 2016

Scientists who are part of the 100,000 Genomes Project, Saint Marys Hospital and Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, The University of Manchester were among those to meet and greet the public as part of a special programme of open laboratories across the city.

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) joined forces with The University of Manchester last month to host the Open Labs: Behind the Scenes of Manchester Science events.

The free sessions on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th July allowed for members of the public to see first-hand the settings where Manchester’s best minds work on the next big breakthroughs. Visitors enjoyed tours of pioneering science laboratories, met with researchers and had the opportunity to ask questions.

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Siddharth Banka, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, was on hand to meet and chat to guests at the open labs event at Saint Mary’s Hospital.

He said: “Visitors were able to see how the 100,000 Genome Project is integrating the latest technologies into clinical care and making a real difference in people’s lives. The Open Labs event was a fantastic opportunity for scientists at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine to showcase our work and research to the public. Lots of people in our lab helped in making the event a huge success and we were delighted by the response from our visitors.”

Jasmin Wilson, Research Support Officer at CMFT, went along on the tour. She commented:

The 100K Genome Project Open Labs offered a fun and interactive introduction to genetics. I really enjoyed the opportunity to see and hear about an on-going research project at the Trust.

Jasmin’s colleague, Alex Sinton added: “This event was a great introduction to science in Manchester and gave me an insight into current research studies being conducted at CMFT labs. I particularly enjoyed learning about recent technological advances such as the next generation DNA sequencer, revolutionising research in genomics and molecular biology.”

Members of the public also enjoyed tours of the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory in the Stopford Building and found out how DNA can affect common arthritis conditions. Researchers were on hand to demonstrate live experiments and share how their research is advancing the knowledge of diseases that affect millions of people in the UK.

The events were organised as part of celebrations to mark Manchester’s designation as European City of Science for 2016. The prestigious title for Manchester is a first for the UK and recognises the city’s unique scientific heritage and contribution to scientific discovery, innovation and industry.

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