Visit to Biochemistry Department of U-Talent high school students from the Netherlands

On Tuesday 3rd September from 2-5pm, the Department hosted 40 Dutch U-Talent students aged 16-18 for two lectures followed by tours of five different labs.

U-Talent is a cooperation between the University Utrecht and several Dutch secondary schools,in which a selected group of talented students participate in a challenging science program at Utrecht University. The program consists of several research oriented modules which are developed in cooperation with various University science departments. Master classes include crystallography (working with Mercury, Olex2, interpreting X-ray diffraction data of sucrose), protein structures (working with PyMOL), enzyme kinetics (Michaelis Menten), and proteomics (working with Mascot, interpreting data of mass spectra of protein fragments).

Following 30 minute lectures on structural biology (Elspeth Garman) and ageing (Lynne Cox), the students were divided into 5 groups of 8 each for they went on tours of three different aspects of Micron (led by Darragh Ennis,  Richard Parton and Martin Hailstone), the Molecular Biophysics suite (Anthony Keeble), the NMR machines (Christina Redfield), and the protein crystallisation facility (Ed Lowe).
The students were moved very efficiently between the four locations by three ‘herders’: Matthew Salinger, Ganesha Pitchai and Benjamin Foster.

Feedback from the accompanying staff member was very positive: 
`The program was filled with interesting lectures about crystallography and ageing research. The lab tour has given an extensive insight of the techniques used in biochemistry research. On our way back to the hostel the students told me they enjoyed the visit at your department a lot. I would like to thank you very much for your hospitality and the well-organized visit at the department.’

Many thanks again to all the people involved for contributing so much voluntary time and effort, ensuring the success of the visit.


Elspeth Garman
9th October 2019