This exciting work experience programme is designed to give fifth year high school students an insight into the work and life of research scientists.
The annual programme is in its third successful year. Since last year, the five research institutes in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh have participated, enabling an increased number of places for students.
This year’s programme provided the opportunity for 40 high school students to spend a week of their summer holidays taking part in a number of different activities including workshops and presentations, laboratory experiments, and learning more about careers in science.
Students from a number of local high schools visited CRH to shadow Laura Milne (male fertility research) and Alison Murray (menstrual irregularities research) working in their labs. The students toured the scientific facilities and then got actively involved in some lab work. They learned to identify animals by a genotype, investigate clinical biopsies through a microscope, pipette samples, identify cell types, and evaluate results.
They also visited Mike Millar’s lab for a histology tour and to learn more about tissue processing, sectioning and staining. Students were given the opportunity to study the anatomy of cells and tissue through a microscope.
Katherine Swinley, a sixteen year old student at Deans Community High School, said: “I really enjoyed visiting MRC Centre for Reproductive Health and found it very beneficial to see the work that goes on in a lab, as well as getting some hands-on experience.
“I am interested in a career in research in the future, so it was really useful to get this valuable insight. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to investigate cell types down a microscope and take part in some other experiments. ”
Rebecca Rollo, a seventeen year old student at Craigmount High School, added: “The lab taster sessions at MRC Centre for Reproductive Health were brilliant. It was my first experience of visiting a working lab and I found it fascinating. The Science Insights week offered so much variation and I experienced elements of science that I had no knowledge of before. I thoroughly enjoyed the programme.”