Science Festival 2017: When our cells go crazy

What are the cells in our body made of? How can we make these cells visible under a microscope? And, how can we distinguish healthy from diseased cells? All of these questions will be answered this week at IBBL’s interactive workshop at the Science Festival.

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As part of its public outreach programme, IBBL’s scientists have again prepared a workshop for this year’s Science Festival, organised by the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) and the Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR). Taking place from the 9th – 12th of November 2017 at the Abbaye de Neumünster in Luxembourg City, the goal of the Science Festival is to promote science and technology to the general public and particularly to the younger generation. On Thursday and Friday the event is tailored to primary and high school classes, while, on the weekend, it is open to the public.

This year, IBBL’s workshop revolves around human cells, their structure and their role in disease. Workshop participants will be able to stain and prepare wet-mount slides and observe their cheek cells under a microscope.

They will identify the components of the cells, learn about the functionality of the nucleus, and discover what happens when the nucleus sends wrong messages to the cell. In a second activity, participants will learn how pathologists prepare tissues and use colour to conduct an investigation and differentiate healthy from cancerous tissue.

The workshop showcases part of IBBL’s work for the upcoming tumour sample collection within the National Cancer Plan. As a joint effort between the hospitals, the Laboratoire National de Santé and the biobank, the tumour collection holds great promise for Luxembourg’s research community. It aims to provide the starting material that the researchers need to deepen their understanding of the disease and potentially develop better prevention measures, better diagnostic tests and better therapies.