Each year the Cambridge Science Festival hosts a 10-day celebration of science, technology and art in the Greater Boston area with the goal of making science accessible, interactive and fun.
This year, the Mass General Research Institute participated in two of the festival’s 200+ events.
Science Carnival and Robot Zoo
On Saturday, April 14th, Mass General researcher Nitya Jain, PhD of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, and her team set up shop at the Science Carnival and Robot Zoo. This day-long family-friendly event featured over 100 interactive booths from a variety of organizations including local hospitals, schools and universities, scientific nonprofits, and pharmaceutical companies.
Visitors to the booth took a quiz to find out which type of microbe best fits their personality, saw a demonstration of how T cells help to fight harmful bacteria and viruses in the body, and created their own microbe cultures by swabbing the inside of their mouths with a Q-tip and applying the saliva sample to an agar plate (small plate with bacterial nutrients) that they could take home with them.
Over 350 kids and families visited the booth over the course of the day. Jain and her staff spent the day translating a complex topic (immunology) into a concept young children could understand.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to do something I am truly passionate about—bringing science to little kids,” said Jain.
We also hosted a science slam at the Asgard Irish Pub and Restaurant in Cambridge to provide investigators with an opportunity to practice their skills in effectively communicating their science to a wide audience.
Researchers were given five minutes to informally provide an overview of their research and its significance without using slides or scientific jargon.
Topics included using ketamine to treat depression, understanding cancer biology and metastasis, and using electrical stimulation to change brain signals responsible for cognitive processing involved in solving conflict.
(above) Giuseppina (Giusy) Romano-Clarke, MD, an attending physician at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Newborn Services Department, uses clever drawings to explain her work in changing the way babies get evaluated and treated for possible infection
The presenters shared their work with a packed house—it was a fun, informative night for all!
We were thrilled to participate in the 2018 Cambridge Science Festival and support their mission of getting the general public excited about science.
Stay tuned for information about future communicating science events from the Research Institute!