"The Zoo of You" Gala Opening Featured

 

On Sunday 16th August, to celebrate the beginning of National Science week, the Gala Opening of "The Zoo of You" interactive exhibition was held in the Science Centre. The exhibition explores the important role that microbes play on and inside our bodies, and represents a new collaboration between The Future Project, Vitramed Bioscience and the Australian Society for Microbiology. The exhibition complements the research being done by Vitramed Bioscience in the research precinct of the Science Centre in the area of probiotics.

 

At the Gala Opening, it was very pleasing to see a wide range of people from the School's community at this event - from current students and their extended families, to past students, and other interested parties from other schools and the scientific community. Microbiologists from all over the country volunteered their time to run hands-on activities and workshops for visitors in the ground level classrooms, and these were filled with enthusiastic participants all afternoon. Student volunteers from The Future Project's Communication strand helped run some of these workshops, which included a "detective story" exploring the way that microbes are transferred from person to person, and using jets of water to blast away aggregations of microbes known as "biofilms". Other students manned the displays in the Science Centre atrium, keen to engage visitors with their knowledge of some of the most important microbes that have a significant bearing on our daily health. A colouring contest, lucky door prizes and guessing competitions all helped to ensure that visitors to the exhibition came away smiling.

Many of the exhibits for "The Zoo of You" will remain in place in the Science Centre atrium until next term, and will provide an opportunity for students who were not able to attend the Gala Opening to investigate the world of microbes in the break times of the school day. Visitors are invited to study the latest Transmission and Scanning Electron Microscope images of common microbes found in the human body, as well as learn about the technology used to produce such images. Other displays explain the science behind the culturing and study of microbes on agar inside petri dishes, as well as some of the latest scientific studies that are giving us valuable insight into how the microbial world impacts on our health. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a homage to Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man", comprised of around 200 individual petri dishes on which live microbes have been cultured - a display that will continue to evolve over the coming weeks.

Special thanks must go to Dr Belinda Chapman of Vitramed Bioscience for her inspiration and tireless dedication to this unique event, and to Matt Purser for his work with the Year 10 students of The Future Project, who both researched the information supplied in the exhibition and helped to design the exhibits themselves.

To view the official website of the exhibition (including images of the petri dishes that were cultured for visitors on the day), visit https://sites.google.com/site/thezooofyou/

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