The three-day festival saw contributions from both Vector Biology and Parasitology. Professor Mark Taylor delivered a talk in the Star Pavilion on Saturday morning, looking at whether parasites, typically seen in tropical climes, are moving north. With multiple questions from the capacity audience, including a number of insightful questions from younger members of the audience, had him addressing the concept of parasites on the International Space Station and if self-infection with the common cold could kill parasites within your body.
Across the weekend, LSTM’s stand in the Planet Field was well attended. Themed as Club Tropicana, festival goers of all ages were wowed by mosquitoes on Saturday, taught how to wrangle a snake on Saturday and to make their own parasites on Sunday. Throughout, the team worked with a group of visual artists called the Snake Wallahs, who paraded the fields and arena with a 16-foot spitting cobra puppet, accompanied by members of LSTM’s Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit.
The weekend of Dot Talks was rounded off with Dr Mark Paine’s talk at 6pm on Sunday in the Star Pavilion looking at the possibility of eradicating malaria before the human race reaches Mars. Again, delivered to a large crowd, Dr Paine answered questions about the ethics of trying to eradicate a genome (Plasmodium falciparum), and the impact of vector control on the fight against malaria.
“The whole weekend was a great success.” Said LSTM’s Public Engagement Manager, Dr Elli Wright: “I am delighted with the whole school effort and the collaboration across LSTM’s research departments. Visitors to Club Tropicana throughout the weekend were nonstop and the team thrived on the curiosity, particularly from the younger festival goers who were fascinated by the exhibit and the work carried out at LSTM. It is definitely something we will be expanding upon for our return visit next year.”