Yr 12 Biology Visit to the Oxford Museum of Natural History

Y12 biologists visited The Oxford Museum of Natural History to take part in Cells Day – a series of lectures from scientists from the University on the subject of cells.

We were able to get access to the Museum before the other schools and studied the “First Animals” exhibition, covering the first evolution of multi-cellular life around 600 million years ago. This led into the talk by Peter Holland (head of the Zoology Dept) on “Why did cells stick together”. Before that was a talk introducing cells, in particular the cytoskeleton which moves structures around cells on “rail tracks”. There were also two talks on plant cells, one which challenged the pupils’ perception of plant cell structure.

In the afternoon the talks were on using bacterial cells to solve the problem of the over-use of plant fertilisers, and two on diseases. The last one, by Robert MacLaren, was about using viruses (injected by a robot) to add DNA to heal defective eye cells – the students found this particularly fascinating.