July was an incredibly busy month for the Mary Lyon Centre and Advance. When most of us had already started thinking about summer breaks, our staff were busy planning activities and hosting visitors to showcase our work and facilities.
As part of the public engagement work carried out by our teams, we hosted a total of 29 students across three bespoke work experience weeks.
This was the first time since the restructuring of the MRC Harwell campus and the opening of the Advance training centre that we were able to organise and host our in-person programme and we were delighted to welcome sixth-form students in the week beginning on the 3rd of July, Y10–11 school pupils the following week and school leavers and university students in the week beginning on the 24th of July.
Each group had a specific programme designed for their age and ability to carry out practical tasks in the various laboratories/areas they were visiting.
We received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and we are now positive about planning next year’s activities based on this experience.
Some of the comments we received:
“It was greatly appreciated to have the opportunity to meet you all and get real, practical lab experience. I had great fun and I feel I’ve learnt a lot” Isabella – University Student
“ It was amazing to be able to see the facilities at the Mary Lyon Centre and witness the exciting work carried out there. I found the germ-free ward particularly fascinating, and I enjoyed hearing from many different people to learn about their roles and how they all tie in together. Being at Mary Lyon has definitely helped me to start thinking about different career pathways as I start looking towards university applications and my future.” Georgie – 6th form
“I also wanted to say a huge thank you to you and all the people who were involved in the work experience program. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would be thrilled to take part in a future opportunity.” Larika – Y10
July was also the month of the annual IMPC Conference, held in Oxford from the 9th to the 11th. Many of the international conference delegates expressed their desire to take this perfect chance to visit the Mary Lyon Centre and we were delighted to organise group tours throughout the day on Wednesday 12th of July. On that day we had over 70 visitors and the atmosphere in the centre was buzzing! The following day was the turn of a delegation from the RIKEN laboratories in Japan, who were visiting as part of a long-term ongoing collaboration.
We were excited to showcase our state-of-the-art facilities to colleagues, collaborators and students, and our efforts were repaid with admiration and compliments from our guests, including the wish to transport our facilities and staff (!) back to their own institution.
As always, our staff went above and beyond to make it possible and to accommodate our touring groups within their very busy schedules, making sure we were able to access as many of the experimental wards and laboratories as possible, where mouse model generation, breeding and phenotyping follow a very structured and scientifically strict plan.
Now for that summer break!