Last Saturday IRB Barcelona held its Open Day and received around 400 visitors.
Public of all ages visited the labs, participated in workshops and attended talks at the centre, which is located at the Barcelona Science Park.
Last Saturday, about 400 members of the public had hands-on experience of the science and met researchers in an Open Day event from 10:00 to 15:00 at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), a biomedical research centre of reference in the city located at the Barcelona Science Park. Public of all ages had the opportunity to experiment, touch, see, and hear about cutting-edge science.
"Yesterday (Friday) we celebrated the recruitment of a great scientist, Manuel Serrano, and today the festivities continue at the Institute with you. Welcome to a centre that is both yours and ours. We hope you enjoy your visit," said Joan J. Guinovart. The director of IRB Barcelona welcomed each of the 130 person-strong groups that signed up for one of the three programmed tours. The public was attended by more than 80 volunteers, comprising scientists, students and administrative staff, all wearing t-shirts with the words "Knowledge" and "Discover"—words that define IRB Barcelona’s mission.
"We are opening our doors to satisfy and stimulate people’s natural curiosity and to bring research closer to the general public," explains Muriel Arimon, Public Engagements and Science Education Officer at IRB Barcelona and organiser of these events. The outreach programme of the centre seeks to build trust, stimulate acknowledgement, and engage the general public.
The visit included talks about current research followed by guided tours to labs. The researcher Elena Sancho, from the Colorectal Cancer Lab, gave a talk about potential treatments for cancer that are also of value for other diseases, on the basis of the discoveries made today and research into immunotherapy, regenerative medicine and genomics. Joan J. Guinovart, an expert in metabolism and diabetes, addressed the underlying causes of such a prevalent disease in the developed world and reminded the audience about how they can reduce their risk by embracing healthier habits.
The visitors had the opportunity to "touch science" in the Science Fair, for example with a fluorescence microscope build with pieces of Lego (LegoLish-Mot), which was presented in the first Youth Mobile Festival Barcelona held in February. They also got the chance to come into contact with the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster used in biomedicine, which they were able to observe under magnifying glasses, and learn about cell “spherifications” in the workshop entitled Barcelona Fun Science.
The youngest visitors ate everything from DNA molecules built with sweets to ice creams of many flavours made using liquid nitrogen—a product scientists use to conserve biological samples.
IRB Barcelona’s Open Day is supported by the Barcelona City Council and the “Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología” (FECYT), which belongs to the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.