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Back to School for the Dental School

7 December 2017

On Friday 1st December, members of the Dental School took part in a Women in STEMM outreach event for schools in the Wills Memorial Building Great Hall.

Lindsay Dutton, Michelle Bessant, Sophie King, Kate Lucas and David Scott ran three dental-related activities at the event attended by 110 children from local schools.

Lindsay & David sparked conversations with the teenagers about plaque, getting them to view plaque samples under a microscope and asking about the different types of bacteria they could see.

Michelle Bessant explained her role as a dental technician, showing examples of crowns, bridges and prosthetics she had created. The kids could put their manual dexterity to the test by modelling a square based pyramid.

Sophie and Kate explained how researchers in the Dental School’s Biomaterials group are inspired by antibacterial surfaces in nature, by showing images of the wing of the cicada and the antibacterial nanospikes researchers have engineered. The antibacterial effects of the surfaces were simulated using balloons, a smooth board and a spikey board. The pupils were each given a balloon and asked to simulate the bacterium attempting to colonise the spikey surface. Balloons were popped and much laughter ensued.

Fiona Lithander from the Bristol Nutrition BRC was the first of two Soapbox Scientists, climbing the soapbox in the centre of the Great Hall to dispel some myths and share some facts about sugar in our diets.

Vikki Layton, the University of Bristol’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer said the event was the “biggest and, in my view, the best Women in STEMM Outreach event we have done to date “

Thank you to everyone who took part.

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