RGU to open doors on health research

What do food labels not tell us? What are the facts behind CSI? What is behind the DNA molecule?

How can we fight healthcare-associated infections? Members of the public will find out when they get an inside look at Robert Gordon University's health research programmes and technologies at the 2012 British Science Festival.

Top academics from within the University's Faculty of Health and Social Care will present a series of interactive lectures, workshops and exhibits during the national festival which is hosted in Aberdeen from 4 to 9 September.

Researchers from the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences will explain the facts behind food labels, including a workshop walk-through of market stalls. The experts, who are also members of the Nutrition Society, will share their insights which will make participants look twice next time they are in a supermarket.

With an interactive exhibit and a laboratory workshop entitled "DNA: Dead or Alive", researchers and academics from the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences will enhance the public understanding of the science behind DNA and how this molecule has transformed the biomedical and forensic sciences field, from disease diagnosis and treatment to identification of species and catching criminals.

Internationally renowned forensic scientist David Barclay will share some of his 30 years' experience working on some of the highest profile cases in the UK and abroad. Audiences will discover how science played a key part in investigating these crimes and even get their chance to try out some of the forensic techniques used.

Among the interactive exhibits will be 'Fat Body Slim: Shape Matters' which investigates the science behind obesity, body shape and health through quizzes, videos and hands-on activities. The RGU Institute for Health & Welfare Research exhibit has been a popular feature for people of all ages at many high-profile events across the country including the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition plus the Edinburgh and Brighton Science Festivals.

Members of RGU's Institute for Health and Welfare Research will also explore how best to visualise the germs that cause healthcare associated infections. Participants can create 3D models and let them loose in RGU's simulated hospital wards.

Professor of Nutrition at Robert Gordon University, Brian Ratcliffe, said: "The staff at RGU are delighted to be able to bring these engagement events to our local public in Aberdeen, having contributed to many events in science festivals in other cities. Science is part of our culture in the UK and it's important to get everyone to engage with it as much as we can."

Professor Cherry Wainwright, Director of the Institute for Health & Welfare Research at RGU, said "This is an excellent opportunity for us to showcase how the outcomes of our diverse research programmes serve to benefit wider society in a fun and informative way."