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DNA, Maggots and hand hygiene on the agenda as pupils head for bioscience conference

Nottingham Trent University

Nottingham Trent University

Budding scientists will extract DNA from their own cheek cells and learn all about the importance of maggots in forensics as part of a 6th Form Bioscience Conference at Nottingham Trent University on October 17.

More than 100 pupils from across Nottingham will converge on the Clifton campus for the event, which will include a range of lab sessions and research presentations, led by academics from the university’s biosciences team.

Pupils will take part in a practical session on hand hygiene – looking at the common bacterial flora on the skin and the benefits of hand washing – and analyse DNA fingerprinting samples using gel electrophoresis.

In one session, university researcher Dr Chris Terrell-Nield will show pupils how blowfly larvae, or maggots, are used to make forensic assessments following the discovery of a body. He will demonstrate how maggots’ stage of development helps investigators establish a time of death, and how to go about finding them.

The event, taking place during national Biology Week, has been organised by the university’s Schools, Colleges and Community Outreach team and the biosciences team, which is based in the School of Science and Technology.

Dr Georgina Manning, Principal Lecturer in Microbiology at the university, said: “This is the third year we have held a bioscience conference for school pupils and it is always extremely popular and very well-received. We want to inspire and motivate post-16 students to consider pursuing an education in bioscience and to see firsthand how exciting, engaging and inspiring the subject can be.”

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