The Big Bang North West is a STEM celebration, organised by All About STEM, for school children which enables young people to discover the exciting and rewarding STEM-based careers available in their local area via fun interactive activities. Thousands of primary and secondary schoolchildren from schools across the North West had the chance to see amazing stands, shows and exhibits throughout the day and see the regional finals of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.
LSTM’s Respiratory Research team showcased their ‘Breathtaking Pneumococcus’ exhibit which used a giant floor-based Snakes and Ladders game to tell the story of the immune cells and bacteria present in people’s nasal passages, with a strong focus on how the body defends itself against the pneumococcus, how current vaccines target this organism and the techniques they use to study these immune responses. Furthermore, the exhibit highlighted the pitfalls of existing pneumonia vaccines and how new ones are urgently needed to save the lives of people dying of pneumonia. The A·WOL Consortium with support from RCDD, demonstrated its research into the development of new drugs against onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis through interactive activities including Beat the Robot, which pitted the public’s pipetting skills against the robotics used by the group. Dr Emily Adams from LSTM’s Research Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics (RCDD) brought her research to the Big Bang Fair and demonstrated to the visitors to the Big Bang North West Fair about her work in developing and delivering novel therapies and diagnostics against a range of pathogens.
LSTM's Public Engagement Manager, Dr Elli Wright, commented: “The schoolchildren were fantastic and really engaged. It gave an excellent opportunity to extend the STEM Ambassador programme at LSTM from visiting schools to taking part in a large festival targeted specifically at local schoolchildren.”
Thousands of school children and teachers attended the day, some of whom had their own displays as part of the competition. “This is the first-time LSTM has been to the Big Bang Fair North West,” continued Dr Wright: “It was fantastic to show the diverse spread of work at LSTM and get the message out there that LSTM is committed to providing life-saving treatments and vaccines through innovation and education, and to show school children how rewarding a career in science can be.”