NDM Scientists at Royal Society summer exhibition

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A team of scientists from the Translational Gastroenterology Unit ran an exhibit at the Royal Society Summer exhibition between the 1st and 6th July 2014.

Their exhibit 'Immune-bacterial interactions' explored the science behind the interactions between gut microbes and our immune system and how changes in their relationship can lead to illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease.

“Not all bacteria are bad, we have many good species that live in synchrony with our system in our gut. These guys help us digest food, they produce vitamins and they also directly protect us from bad bacteria by living in the same space” – Dr Nathan West.

About 15,000 people attended the event in total with at least 2000 visitors to the stall over the course of the exhibition.This included a mix of organised school visits, families, university students and interested adults.

The activities on offer were a giant magnetic wall representing the gut with magnetised fluffy microbes, a histology game to spot the inflamed guts (with winners getting their very own fluffy E. coli keyring!) and watching endoscopy videos showing the removal of polyps from the colon.

"The younger kids especially loved the giant gut wall and the teenagers seemed fascinated by the endoscopy videos" - Claire Pearson.

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As part of the exhibition the scientists also produced a short animation explaining their research, which can be found on the Oxford University science blog.