The weekend saw researchers from LSTM taking the institute’s 125 years of rich history and science to the Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M) as part of the National Lottery Heritage-funded project, LSTM – Past, Present, and Future.
LSTM Vector Biologists Fraser Colman, Sara Rooney and Dr Lucas Cunningham brought live mosquitoes, larvae, and pupae to delight the families visiting the VG&M. Families were also shown the Culex mosquitoes they might encounter in their back gardens, specimens of Triatomine ‘Kissing Bugs’ and the snails which carry Schistosomiasis. Technician Paula Wright from LSTM’s clinical diagnostic parasitology service continued the narrative by demonstrating blood smears taken from individuals infected with malaria. Paula was able to demonstrate, visually, the various species of malaria parasites that a human could encounter following the bite of an infected mosquito, highlighting that the methods utilised by her team to identify parasites in blood today are the same used by LSTM’s earliest scientists.
The beautiful and detailed scientific illustrations drawn by LSTM’s historical scientific figures such as Dr Alwen Evans’s drawings of Anopheles mosquitoes, and Dr Joseph Everett Dutton’s Trypanosome parasites inspired the families to be creative and draw their own illustrations of the specimens brought by the team. Researcher Meg Parkes also returned to the VG&M with the art created by the Far Eastern Prisoners of War during World War II, telling their stories of survival in captivity and the stories of the men who were treated by LSTM clinicians upon their return to the UK.
Guy Kilgallen, a visitor to the VG&M, said “Scientific illustrations: Stories of Discovery and Survival was an amazing event in which I learnt so much and had a lot of fun.” Clare Maher, LSTM’s Communications and Public Engagement Officer, said “It was great to see so many different age groups, adults included, taking part in the crafts we had available on the day.”
Dr Elli Wright, Public Engagement Manager and lead on the LSTM – Past, Present, and Future project continued: “The event took place during British Science Week and revealed the rich tapestry of LSTM’s history, alongside exciting and innovative science, and formed part of a wider project designed to increase public awareness and engagement in LSTM's past, present, and future using the stories of its scientists.”
You can find out more about where the next LSTM-Past, Present, and Future event will be by following LSTM on social media (@LSTMnews on Twitter and LSTM on Facebook). The LSTM 125 website has information about the associated 125th anniversary events.
LSTM would like to thank National Lottery players for their support, in enabling this important project to go ahead.