Last month, secondary students from various schools across Aberdeenshire attended a Pathology day in RGU’s biological science labs. The students listened to short introductions before getting involved in practical experiments across three workshop areas. Each included experiments that would be typical in the 1st year of an undergraduate course of BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science.
The first of three workshops was in Microbiology. The students were sterilising a platinum wire loop over the Bunsen burner. They covered the loop with bacteria often responsible for food poising, E.coli, and then recorded the results. They were then taught about the importance of washing your hands using the “Glitterbug”. In doing this they used UV lights to see the “bacteria” (fluorescent cream) on their hands before and after washing them.
The second workshop was in the blood science laboratory. Students worked through a booklet of experiments and recorded the results as they went. Firstly they checked if the patient’s details matched their blood sample, and examined the results obtained from the analyser. They also made a blood film, observed it under a microscope and learnt about blood groups and typing procedures. Based on the results, they, decided what blood type the patient required for a transfusion.
The last workshop was based on Histopathology (study of tissues), where students were able to detect liver damage in patient’s tissue. By using the Van Gieson’s stain, they were able to see, through a microscope the difference between a healthy and damaged organ.
It was interesting to see school kids working in the university and to see what they thought of RGU’s labs. I think events like this are really beneficial, not just to those thinking of studying science, but to everyone while still in secondary school. Being able to feel like you are working on university level work while in school is great motivation and an opportunity to learn a bit more about what you want to do after finishing school.