Biology students learn from the experts at the Institute of Developmental Sciences

12 December 2018

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First year Biology students at Brockenhurst College have extended their subject knowledge with visits to the Institute of Developmental Sciences at University Hospital Southampton.

During their first trip, students worked alongside Professors and PhD students in a hands-on laboratory activity in which they analysed the DNA of food.

Students also sat in on talks covering a variety of topics including nutrition, genomic medicine and epigenetics.

A second visit saw a panel of six experts take part in ‘Question Time’, a television-style debate on the topic of ‘Fake Food’.

Among the distinguished panel were Dr Sarah Jarvis (from BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show), Dr Giles Yeo (Appetite Scientist and Broadcaster), Professor Guy Poppy (Chief Scientific Adviser to Food Standards Agency and Ecologist).

Students were invited to ask questions during the event, which explored the big food issues impacting health from the very earliest points of development and across the human lifespan.

Biology student Kathryn Brooks put a question to the panel on whether they thought the NHS should treat food-related diseases in people unwilling to make dietary changes.

The panel responded that while this raised important modern-day issues, these could not simply be resolved by sweeping new legislation because circumstances differ widely between cases.

After the event, Kathryn said: “It was great opportunity to interact not only with other likeminded students but also scientists and Professors who are experts in their fields.”

She continued: “I am so glad I went as it was great to hear the different opinions on hot topics like how the NHS should treat dietary related illnesses.”

Rachel Hughes who teaches the students said: “It was a fantastic chance for the students to experience what it’s actually like working in a research lab.

“The debate panel explored the applications and social implications of things the students have been learning in lessons, so they found this particularly fascinating,” she added