“Bake Off” takes a biological twist!

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The Royal Society of Biology’s annual Biology Week took place from the 6th – 14th October. This year the Biology Department at WHS organised our own programme of events to celebrate Biology Week.
We had something for everyone and the week was buzzing with enthusiastic biologists taking the opportunity to do something different and learn something new.

Events were kicked off by the Year 10 ‘Biology Bake Off.’ Students were asked to produce some baked goods illustrating what they have been learning about the cardiovascular system. The entries were of outstanding quality – even Paul Hollywood would have been impressed! The winning entry from Lydia Watterson was a red velvet cake that both accurately represented the external anatomy of the heart and tasted delicious!

A series of lunchtime lectures from visiting speakers from Queen’s University, Belfast gave our senior Biology students a greater insight into how their A-level course content is applied in real life research. It also gave them the opportunity to ask questions and get advice about careers and courses in Biology.

Monday’s lecture from Dr Sharon Eddie Parkinson was entitled “Ovarian Cancer – it doesn’t actually come from the ovary.” This was a fascinating look at the scientific process and how constantly questioning what we observe leads to new and exciting discoveries with potentially huge impacts on the way we diagnose and treat disease.
On Tuesday Professor Mark Lawler from the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) gave a very entertaining lecture on “Rosalind Franklin, Barack Obama and the Irish Twists in the DNA Tale.” This was followed by a careers panel with a number of scientists from the CCRCB including Professor Karen McCloskey, Dr Pamela Maxwell and Dr Gaurang Patel. Students were given an insight into the different pathways into a career in science and what the day to day work of a research scientist entails.
Thursday’s lecture by Dr Aisling Keane was superb! Dr Keane highlighted some of the current advances in disease treatment and personalised medicine, providing some extremely interesting examples of different uses of antibodies and gene technology to treat disease.

Dissection workshops after school gave enthusiastic junior biologists the opportunity to get hands on and investigate the inner workings of the heart, kidney and a chicken’s foot!
On Friday a group of Year 8 students had the opportunity to talk to a scientist from the Zoological Society London via Skype. They discussed current research in conservation biology and asked lots of questions about the animals in the zoo!
Finally the WHS Biology Week Quiz ran throughout the week and was open to all students to Years 8-12. This was a challenging test of general biological knowledge in plant biology, human biology and natural history. Everyone enjoyed having a go.

Congratulations to our winners in Year 8 Aaron Keown, Year 9 Max Kamalarajah, Year 10 Josh Kamalarajah, Year 11 Shannon McCluskey and Year 12 Sasha McCluskey.
Keep up to date with all the action from Biology Week and future events in the Biology Department by following us on Twitter @BiologyWHS. A huge thanks to all involved but especially to Miss Carruthers for her administrative skills, energy and enthusiasm for all things biological!

Last modified: October 18, 2018