DNA at the Heart of the Fringe: A First for the BHF

On Monday 5th August, a handful of our first year PhD students travelled through to Edinburgh to host the very first British Heart Foundation workshop as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

BHF at the Fringe Festival

The Fringe Festival is a fantastic annual event that occurs every year- drawing together people from all walks of life and a wide variety of locations to experience comedy shows, street performances and exciting workshops.

This year, we decided to get involved in the festival by hosting an interactive scientific workshop to showcase the fantastic work carried out by our BHF-funded students at Glasgow University. Simon, Antoniya, Eleni and Kayley, our first year PhD Students all donned their coats and goggles at the BHF Scotland HQ.

BHF at the Fringe Festival

Members of the public were treated to a presentation that revealed just what it is our researchers get up to in their labs everyday- from understanding diseases like atherosclerosis to analysing DNA sequences and even extracting and utilising extracellular vesicles for drug delivery! Phew! After suiting up, our audience got to experience a taste of the lab life first hand by extracting DNA from various fruits! Finally, after a short quiz to see what they learned, one lucky participant was deemed the winner! To round off the day, the audience was introduced to clinical cardiology equipment by some fantastic volunteers from NHS Greater Glasgow and even got to take their own blood pressure.

BHF at the Fringe Festival

All in all, a fantastic day was had by all. Our students really felt that experiences such as this in public engagement taught them key skills in presentation and communication whilst also encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone and teach others about their research.

We spoke to some of our participants on the day to see what they thought of the first ever BHF Fringe workshop and the feedback was super! Many said that it helped them to understand how the BHF are helping to fight heart and circulatory disease and many were surprised at just how much they learned! In particular, many enjoyed the interactive aspect of the day and felt it added some extra excitement to the day to create their own real-time lab results!



First published: 14 August 2019