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Background info about the exhibit
The MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, together with scientists at Glasgow University and the Irish and Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service have developed a public engagement exhibit ‘Stem cells for blood transfusion?’ which explores the possibility of generating blood from stem cells to provide a limitless and infection-free blood supply.
The exhibit was first developed in 2010 for the Royal Society’s Summer Science Festival. It has also been used at various other science festivals and events, including the Big Bang Fair, the Edinburgh and Glasgow Science Festivals and the ASE conference.
The exhibit consists of three parts:
- Your blood
- How we get blood today and in the future using stem cells
- Stem cell lab of the future (see image top right)
Each part - or components of it - can be used and set-up separately.
Exhibit available for loan free of charge
We encourage use of the exhibit by others. The full exhibit or single components are available on loan free of charge. The 3 main interactive elements described below are heavy, but easy to set-up and are stored / transported in easy to handle flight cases. See images in pdf document at bottom of this page.
Kiosk with quiz questions
- Red stand alone touch-screen based kiosk with a computer inside it. Can be connected to the internet.
- Default set up is a quiz that runs on the computer itself with three sets of 8 questions on: 1) blood, 2) stem cells and 3) stem cells for future medicines.
- No demonstrator required, some background information (e.g. backboard with info) is helpful.
- Very suitable for secondary school children or adult audience.
- Quiz can also be played directly via the exhibit's website www.stemcellsforblood.org.
Stem cell marble game
- Interactive game where children use a ‘stem cell marble’ to make other types of cells.
- Different levels of complexity, so also very suitable for secondary school children or adult audience.
- Topics covered: stem cell renewal and differentiation pathway, germ layers in the early embryo (endoderm, mesoderm, ectoderm).
- Requires a demonstrator to keep an eye on the marbles (choke hazard) and help / guidance.
- The reward can be to open the boxes at the bottom to find a shape to treat Stella (see next paragraph), but can also be sweets or other type of give away.
- Can only be used in combination with the Stem cell marble game.
- At the end of the marble game visitors open the box(es) and treat Stella for various diseases (neurological diseases like Parkinson’s in the brain; heart failure, liver failure, diabetes in the pancreas, skin burns or loss of blood). She will cheer if visitors have made the right type of cell to treat her.
- Demonstrator at the marble game can also assist here as is linked.
More information, including a 4min video about the research project, can be found on the exhibit’s website www.stemcellsforblood.org and on the factsheet about blood stem cells.