Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes and Maria Gomes Fernandes from Leiden University Medical Center ran the PluriMes public engagement stand at the public engagement evening which marked the start of the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s (ISSCR) 2015 annual conference.
The public engagement evening was held at the Karolinksa Institutet’s Aula Medica on Tuesday 23 June and had two parts. An interactive reception with stands run by a collaboration of EC funded HEALTH Consortia PluriMes, HumEn, ThymiStem, NeuroStemCell Repair and EuroStemCell, and also the Wellcome Trust – Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute. The second part was a panel discussion on stem cells and the aging brain involving a world-leading group of international stem cell scientists, lead by the Karolinska Institutet’s Ernest Arenas.
The PluriMes stand had two activities, one activity used play-doh to show the public how pluripotent stem cells can make any type of the specialised cell. The other activity used M&Ms to explain how specialised cells can be return to a naïve state using a method called reprogramming. The M&M activity was developed at the PluriMes First Annual Consortium Meeting by PluriMes lab members from Dylan Stavish's (University of Sheffield) idea.
As an extra incentive to visit the stand members of the public were able to take away PluriMes branded M&Ms (which they could eat) in PluriMes branded petri dishes!
The event attracted about 50 members of the public and due to the collaboration between some of the leading European stem cell research consortia and centres the event was very successful at showcasing the amazing stem cell research taking place across Europe.