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Fruit flies descend on the Eden Project

Guerilla Science

24 May 2018

Over the weekend (24-27 May) Dr James Hodge joined a team of actors who dressed up in fly costumes to roam the Eden Project to engage and promote science to the public as part of the Mutant circus event.

The activities were organised by Guerilla Science, a scheme funded by the Wellcome Trust, which has the goal to bring science to the public in unconventional ways, by mixing up boundaries between arts, society and science making it interesting and accessible.

In the event James and the team of actors dressed as fruit flies, produced by artists, to engage with the public and promote the scientific talks later in the day. Each day James gave a talk about the contribution of fruit flies to biology and medicine, highlighting his teams fruit fly research here in Bristol. During the day James also helped run an interactive fly lab giving the public a chance to use microscopes and run experiments to directly engage with science.

As a professional DJ, James (Dr Fly) also ran a family friendly disco each day, with music focused around flies, insects and animals in science.

The first day of the event also heralded the opening of a new Wellcome Trust funded building at the Eden project called Invisible worlds. An exhibition of the tiny world beyond our senses that make up part of this planets tree of life, such microorganisms of the gut biome, bacteria. Fungi, viruses and insects.

This event also comes of the back of Dr James Hodge, together with James Charlick, a talented pharmacology undergraduate, receiving a £2100 grant from the Alzheimer’s Society. The grant will fund James Charlick for an 8-week summer project to study human Alzheimer’s genes expressed in fruit flies, examining memory, sleep and ageing in the flies.


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