Centre for Reproductive Health

Reproductive Health events take place at Edinburgh Science Festival 2024

Edinburgh International Science Festival (EISF) is the first and one of the most respected science festivals in the world, taking place annually in April.

A researcher engages children in a colourful biology activity

Known for producing world class live events, the 2024 Festival invited everyone to get hands-on with science and embrace the concepts of experimentation, innovation, creativity, curiosity and inventions that lies at the heart of this year’s theme, which was ‘Shaping the future’.

Researchers from the CRH were delighted to be involved in this year’s Festival in the following ways:

Ready Steady Grow – the lifecycle of a human body

Ginnie Clark, Nikki Graham, Rocio Martinez-Aguilar, Marlene Magalhaes Pinto and Grace Forsyth facilitated two fully booked workshops called ‘Ready Steady Grow – the lifecycle of a human body’ (2 April).

These workshops gave youngsters the opportunity to take part in microscope activity to discover how cells grow and change and what happens when cell growth goes wrong. They played ‘jigsaw cell match’ to reveal the role of different cells and organs within the body (prizes were awarded), experimented with fluorescence, and worked out the different stages of fetal development by examining mouse embryos. They also learned some basic biology about the ovaries (eggs) and testes (sperm) by examining models we created.

A child looks through a microscope

The event concluded with a lively Q&A with the children asking plenty of questions about careers in science, seeking examples of what ‘a day in the life’ of a scientist would be like and a desire to expand on the information about reproductive health that they had learned during the activity.

The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive which some children leaving saying “I want to become a scientist when I grow up!” and “I didn’t know science could be this cool and fun!”

Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Lives

A group of 9-12 year old girls examine vials with biological matter inside.

Two days later, members of the Edinburgh Pregnancy Research Team (including scientists and clinicians) took part in the ‘Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Lives’ event (4 April) at the Bayes Centre. This evening event was a collaboration between scientists at the Centre for Reproductive Health, the Usher Institute and the Centre for Cardiovascular Science and included the CRH’s Katie Mckinnon, Rosie Townsend and Kayhee Hor. They shared their research work on fetal programming and its effect on a baby’s long term health and a NHS Lothian Dietician-led talk about dietary advice after a pregnancy affected by gestational diabetes.

Interactive stalls also featured, offering participants the chance try a hand-held ultrasound device and speak with registered midwives about hypnobirthing and yoga birth preparation (or any pregnancy concerns they may have).

Attendees were also given the opportunity to trial two new pregnancy apps , one which looked at gestational diabetes and one which monitors environmental pollution exposure and sleep during pregnancy.

The Edinburgh Pregnancy Research Team investigates a range of themes including premature birth, baby brain development, and how cutting edge retinal scanning may help predict complications in pregnancy.

Read more about Edinburgh Pregnancy Research

Congratulations to all who participated and engaged the public in our research so effectively and enthusiastically. Here’s to EISF 2025!