A chance to see inside a Newcastle science laboratory at the cutting edge of arthritis research

Laboratory tour Newcastle RACE scientists often share their work with public audiences through lectures, events at museums and such like. It is rare, however, that the public are invited into the laboratory to see where the research actually happens. This is what we did recently in Newcastle respondin‌g to an idea from our RACE patient and public partners.

We held the event on a Saturday morning with plenty of coffee to wake everyone up. Research associates and PhD students lead small group tours of the laboratory. There were demonstrations of how we separate different immune cells from donated blood and how we visualise different cells in donated tissue. People seemed to really enjoy the demonstration of blood separation by Gemma and Fiona, and were impressed with the demonstration by Nikki of cell separation using our special automated robot. Ben gave an excellent overview of how tissue is treated in order to look at the cells that make up the tissue – this raised lots of discussion of how important it is for patients to donate their tissue for research.

As a bonus activity, while other groups were on the tour, research associate Lilian presented her new research idea and led a group discussion. This a great way for members of the public to hear about a possible future study. What is more, their views and suggestions will also help to shape Lilian’s research funding application.

Senior research associate Amy said afterwards, “People asked so many questions and we enjoyed answering them, though we did over-run a bit on our timing!” The event was such a success that we will certainly do it again in the future.