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Barcelona Science Park launches a workshop on biomechanics of cancer for secondary students

The Barcelona Science Park Research in Society programme is expanding its scientific dissemination activities with a new workshop “Investiga la biomecànica del càncer” (Research the biomechanics of cancer) for secondary students aged 14 to 18.

Research the biomechanics of cancer gives students the opportunity to come to the Science Park and do an experiment that shows how scientists research the mechanical properties of cancer cells to find out how aggressive the cancer is or assess possible treatments. It also helps them quantify and check physical aspects of the cells involved in the disease, such as the elasticity of the cell membranes, to see how easily they can metastasise.

For the new workshop, the programme is collaborating with the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and some of its research staff: Manuel Gómez, postdoc researcher in the ‘Integrative cell and tissue dynamics’ group, PhD in Engineering Sciences and degree in Aeronautical Engineering; and Anabel-Lise Le Roux, postdoc researcher in the ‘Cellular and molecular mechanobiology’ group and PhD in Biophysics.

Research the biomechanics of cancer is part of the “Do research!” series of workshops that nearly 1,400 students from around Catalonia take part in each year. The various workshops in this series are carried out by research staff from different organisations in the PCB Community, including IBEC, IRB Barcelona, CNAG and UB.

With this latest workshop, the Park is expanding its offering to cover eight current research topics. Now schools can choose to: extract DNA and perform electrophoresis, simulate a gene sequencing, do a bacterial transformation on a gene so it will produce a protein and a bacterial culture, or seed cells with a chosen gene and indicators, conduct an incubation and use a luminometer to measure efficacy, among others.

The Barcelona Science Park strives to continue working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Research in Society programme works to achieve goal 4 (Quality Education “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”) by carrying out scientific dissemination activities that encourage young people to go into science. This includes the programme’s own activities and collaborations, geared towards students from fifth of primary through Baccalaureate and vocational education, including 120 free spots set aside for schools with highly complex situations.

The programme receives support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation’s Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Barcelona City Council. In 2016, it received the Seal of Educational Quality from the Pedagogical Innovation Council, promoted by the Barcelona Municipal Institute of Education (IMEB).