UWE Bristol bioscience experts take part in BBSRC celebration

Issue date: 05 June 2014

A group of researchers from UWE Bristol have been invited to take part in a prestigious celebration to mark the 20 year anniversary of the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC).

As part of this anniversary the BBSRC is working with 17 groups of leading scientists to develop exciting exhibitions about their bioscience and engage the British public, these exhibits will help showcase some of the world-class bioscience that BBSRC invests in. The celebration will present the opportunity to engage people across the UK at science communication events.

The UWE Bristol team has been awarded a grant of £10k to develop an exhibit that will demonstrate how the naturally occurring phenomenon of glowing bacteria can be harnessed to help people.

The exhibit 'Many bugs make light work; glowing bacteria as brilliant bioscience tools' will be launched at the Festival of Nature in Bristol on 14 June in the UWE marquee. Key to the BBSRC celebration is a desire to spread the news about the work of scientists from all over the UK at science communication events across the country.

Professor Vyv Salisbury explains, “We are thrilled to have been invited to take part in the BBSRC celebration. We are one of just two post 1992 universities invited to take part.

“We aim to explain how bioluminescence or glowing bacteria can help scientists devise tests. Scientists need to establish markers for experiments that show whether a test has worked. Bioluminescent bacteria are a really good marker, because if the bacteria are killed by disinfectant for example, we can see it disappear before our eyes as the glowing fades.

“At UWE Bristol we have successfully used bioluminescent markers to create a kit for leukaemia patients blood testing. We will have this on display as part of our exhibit.

“Our exhibit will feature a blackout tent that we call the 'Bug Booth' where visitors can view agar plates of glowing bacteria. They will be invited to add a range of antibacterial products including toothpaste, chilli powder, hand wash and garlic and watch as these agent reduce the glowing as the bacteria are killed'.

Visitors will also be encouraged to share images of the glowing bacteria on twitter. All photographs will be retweeted on the twitter handle @bright_bugs

In November all of the exhibits will be brought together at the Great British Bioscience Festival in London, organised by BBSRC. The festival will be open to the general public and free to attend.

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