This week, MCS teamed up with Oxford Brookes University on a new course to provide pupils interested in biosciences with valuable lab experience.

The course was set up by MCS and Brookes following a conversation about how difficult it is to get lab experience if you are under 18, while the biosciences industry, which is strong in Oxfordshire, is keen to encourage more young people to study biosciences at university.

The pupils from eight schools got stuck in analysing the pathogens that cause pneumonia, pulmonary disease and infections from dog bites. The forty participants also learnt to do PCR analysis and identified pathogens, while learning about bioinformatics, gel electrophoresis, and the role of restriction enzymes. Brookes researchers gave talks about their areas of expertise and the pupils were able to see cutting-edge work in microscopy.

MCS pupil James Bridson said: “It was a tremendously enriching three days, in which we were given valuable insight into both practical side of Biology, applying our own Biologocial knowledge in a laboratory setting, as well as encountering fascinating new ideas.”

Fellow pupil Bocheng said: “It was an interesting experience to actually see in practice some of the theory covered at A-level. It gave a taster of actual life in the lab and the skills that you don’t really get from just reading course pages.”

Scott Crawford, Deputy Head, said: “We were delighted to be able to work with Brookes to develop this course, which feels a real need for young bioscientists.”

The course was supported by Tim Edwards, Chair of STORM Therapeutics.