National Horizons Centre teaches children how to make medicines from microbes

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Children at a Tees Valley school have been learning about the latest developments at the cutting edge of bioscience thanks to Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre.

Researchers and academics from the National Horizon’s Centre worked with children from Whinney Banks Primary School in Middlesbrough to showcase how medicines can be made from microbes.

The National Horizons Centre is a £22.3m national centre of excellence for the bioscience industries, based at Central Park in Darlington, which brings industry and academia together, to provide the life sciences sector with knowledge, skills, talent and facilities to support its development and growth.

Over the course of a month, the National Horizons’ Centre staff worked with the youngsters on a series of tasks relating to some of the cutting-edge work being done by the centre in the field of bioprocessing.

The children were encouraged to grow and measure their own mould in their classrooms. They then learned how certain types of microbes can be used to fight disease and infection.

The activity was organised through the Centre for Industry and Education Collaboration (CIEC), as part of its Children Challenging Industry initiative which encourages the use of industrial contexts to enhance pupils’ experience of working scientifically and subject knowledge in the UK science curricula.

Dr Jen Vanderhoven, director of the National Horizons Centre, said: “We were delighted to work with the children from Whinney Banks School on this project.

”One of the key aims of the National Horizons Centre is to grow the capacity of the bioscience workforce in the Tees Valley and we hope that these activities gave the youngsters a glimpse into the fascinating and important work that is being carried out in this sector.

“The children proved more than equal to the task which we set them and it would be fantastic if, in a few years’ time, we can welcome some of them back to the National Horizons Centre as students of Teesside University.”

Mackayla Miller from CIEC said: “I thoroughly enjoyed our Children Challenging Industry sessions with the team at the NHC.

“The virtual lab visit provided an exciting opportunity for the children to connect with the STEM world outside their classroom and to see real life science in action. To be able to deliver such an enriching learning experience in the current climate is a wonderful achievement.”

Anna Ronsano, a teacher at Whinney Banks School, added: “The children at Whinney Banks enjoyed their learning with the National Horizons Centre.

“It was awesome seeing real scientists in action and carrying out experiments very similar to the ones which they carry out in their labs. The children loved asking live questions to real scientists too. It was an amazing opportunity for the pupils.”

For more information on the National Horizons Centre, visit tees.ac.uk/nhc.