Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A group of Ludwig public engagement volunteers took our newly created family friendly activities to a sunny Headington Festival in Bury Knowle Park on Sunday 3rd June. The Headington Festival is an annual event run by Headington Action and features ~50 stalls from local organisations, plus a programme of live entertainment.

We demonstrated various aspects of DNA packaging and the effects of DNA mutations to many members of the public.

A brightly coloured 3D-printed model of DNA, showing the double helix and base pairs4 Ludwig Oxford Researchers standing in front of the stand at the Headington FestivalHow is DNA packaged?

In this activity, participants were given two pipe cleaners twisted together (to mimic DNA) and pieces of plastic resembling cotton reels (to mimic structures in the cell made of proteins called nucleosomes). The challenge was to try to increase the compaction of the DNA by wrapping it around the nucleosomes – making a structure called chromatin, which is how DNA is packaged and organised in the cell.

 

What happens when DNA is mutated?

The DNA decoding and mutations public engagement activityDNA contains the information necessary for life. The four bases of DNA - A, T, C and G - are arranged in a specific order so that they code for messages. These messages contain the instructions for building units, called proteins, which make up and maintain an organism such as a human. In this activity, we have a section of DNA that codes for a message. Participants first needed to decode the DNA to work out what the message was. The order of the DNA was then changed or mutated and this affected the meaning of the coded message. As the DNA acquired more and more mutations, the message became meaningless.

 

5 Ludwig Oxford researchers standing in front of the stand at the Headington Festival in bright sunshineDNA mutations that result in losing the meaning of the instructions that control important biological processes, such as when a cell divides, increase the risk of getting cancer.

Thanks to the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics for sharing the concept behind this activity.

A huge thank you goes to Marketa Tomkova, Ruoshi Peng, Ying Bi, Svanhild Nornes, Wenjun Huang, Mirvat Surakhy, Jingyi Ma and Richard Lisle for volunteering.

 

Similar stories

Collaboration with Magdalen College outreach to run remote work experience

Public Engagement

Ludwig Oxford's Dr Tammie Bishop organised a week of work experience for fifteen year 12 students in collaboration with the Magdalen Outreach Team.

Christmas raffle for Sobell House

Public Engagement

Staff and students from the Old Road Campus Research Building, the NDM Research Building and the Kennedy Institute raised £750 for Sobell House in the Christmas raffle organised by Ludwig Oxford’s laboratory manager Dr Stan Ng. Thanks to all contributors and corporate donors Eppendorf UK, Thermofisher and Promega UK!

ORCRB Open Doors 2019

Public Engagement

On Saturday 14th September 2019, the Old Road Campus Research Building (ORCRB) opened to the public as part of the Oxford Open Doors scheme run by the Oxford Preservation Trust.

UNIQ summer school 2019

Public Engagement

Ludwig Oxford researcher volunteers at the 2019 Oncology UNIQ summer school

Work experience week 2019

Public Engagement

Local school children get a taste of research life at Ludwig Oxford.

Ludwig Oxford at the Headington Festival 2019

Public Engagement

On Sunday 2nd June, Ludwig Oxford took part in the Headington Festival in Bury Knowle Park to engage with members of the Headington community.