Norwich Research Park Day – Gallery Stage

Pop into the Gallery for some free, drop-in talks from scientists from the Norwich Research Park. First come, first served.

Norwich Research Park

11am–11.30am
Microbes: Science’s Jekyll and Hyde
Age: 5+

There is an entire world we can’t even see living around us. Under your feet, in the air we breathe, in your mouth. These are micro-organisms.

Join Danny Ward from the John Innes Centre as he takes you through a whistle-stop tour of bacteria, viruses, fungi and everything in between!

Learn more about how some nasty bugs can give us disease, while others can cure us. Delve in to the world of the microscopic, and witness life that looks like it belongs more on Mars, than here on Earth!

Find out what scientists are researching right now and what the future of microbial life has in store for us… which, it turns out, is quite a lot!

Danny Ward is a postgraduate researcher in plant health at the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park.

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12pm–12.30pm
Silent Orchards: The Importance of Pollinators
Age: 7+

What would our supermarkets look like if we lost our pollinators? The answer is: pretty empty! What would our supermarkets look like if we lost our pollinators? The answer is: pretty empty… and it’s not just honeybees that are important for stocking our shelves with healthy food, but bumblebees, butterflies, flies, bats, birds and many other species that are of vital importance for pollinating valuable plants – even humans, if you want vanilla ice cream!

Over the past two centuries the British landscape has completely changed with agricultural intensifications. How have bees changed as a result? What did bee populations look like 120 years ago? And how have their genetics and morphology changed between then and now? These are questions that we are beginning to be able to answer, using DNA sequencing and museum collections.

Wilfried Haerty leads the Haerty Group at the Earlham Institute on the Norwich Research Park. His current research interests focus on characterising functional non-coding sequences and the evolutionary constraints acting on these elements across many species. Wilfried uses comparative genomics approaches to quantify the action of selection acting on non-coding elements, with a strong focus on the patterns of sequence variation among populations.

Earlham Institute
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1pm–1.45pm
Health: It’s Not Just in Your Genes!
Age: 15+

Recent advances in diagnosis and healthcare have helped us live longer, better… but there are many other factors that determine how long we live and how healthy we are in older age.

In this talk, UEA’s Dr Sarah Hanson, Prof Andy Jones and Dr Karen Milton will explain why inequalities in health matter – in the past, the present and the future.

Dr Sarah Hanson is a Lecturer in Health Sciences in the School of Health Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

Prof Andy Jones is Professor in Public Health in Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia. Dr Karen Milton is a Lecturer in Public Health in Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia.

UEA

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2.15pm–3pm
Bacteria in the Gut? The Good, the Bad and the Protective
Age: 12+

Have you ever wondered what millions of gut bacteria do for us? Did you ever have a bad stomach after eating out? What happens to all those microbes in the gut when this happens? How can we keep the gut healthy? Come along for this showcase on the biology of the gut!

Join us for three talks in one, taking you on a fascinating journey through the human gut to meet the good, the bad, and the protective bacteria that live inside of us.

The good, the bad and the protective: 

There are about ten times more bacterial cells in the gut than there are human cells in our bodies! These bacteria form a complex ecosystem that needs to be fed with nutrients to be kept healthy and happy.

The greatest dangers for this ecosystem come from two sources: antibiotics – which act as weapons of mass destruction for our gut bacteria – and invading external species, such as a Salmonella infection, which can lead to diarrhoea and, in the worst case, death.

In this talk, Dr Falk Hildebrand from the Quadram Institute will give an overview of the role of our commensal bacteria and how they can help prevent infections, but how they often also suffer under the invasion of pathogenic bacteria, just as we do.

How can bugs help us stay healthy?

Have ever wondered what those trillions of bacteria present in out gut do for us? Some of them, like bifidobacteria, help us stay healthy and prevent the development of diseases.

Martina Poletti from the Earlham Institute studies the mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of bifidobacteria using a ‘mini-gut’ system, called organoid. These mini-guts represent a small scale version of the gut in a dish, and can be used test the beneficial effects of probiotics such as bifidobacteria on different types of intestinal cells. In this talk she’ll describe her research, and explain what bifidobacteria could do for you!

My computer has Salmonella! Building computational models of pathogens

Salmonella enterica strains cause up to a hundred million cases each year, with hundreds of thousands of these ending up as fatal. Some of these bugs specialise in a broad range of species that they can infect, while others only focus on a single host.

In this talk, find out how, by building computational models of Salmonella strains and their inner workings, we can invent new ways of dealing with them, and understand better why and how they do what they do.

Dr Falk Hildebrand is a Group Leader at the Quadram Institute on the Norwich Research Park. He and his group work on microbes in the human microbiome, together with colleagues from the Earlham Institute. Currently, the group is working on discovering and describing the vast biodiversity of microbes that live within us. Martina Poletti is a PhD student at the Earlham Institute on the Norwich Research Park. Martina is studying the effect of bifidobacteria on intestinal cell function using intestinal organoids and computational biology. Marton Olbei is a postdoctoral scientist building computational models of Salmonella strains.

Quadram Institute

Earlham Institute

 

3.30pm–4pm
Climate Change: Why Should you Care?
Age: 15+

Climate change is in the news a lot, but it can be a confusing, complicated topic with many mixed messages. UEA’s Prof Andrew Manning aims to empower members of the public by cutting through the smoke and mirrors. In this talk he’ll explain why climate change is happening, why you should care and what you can do.

Prof Andrew Manning is Associate Professor in Atmospheric and Ocean Science in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

UEA
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Wednesday 23 October
Venue: The Forum’s Gallery
Cost: Free, drop-in