During the summer, the Oundle School Biology Department took a group of lower sixth form pupils to the University of Pecs in Hungary for a week-long study visit at the microbiology department in the Faculty of Science.
Pupils gained first-hand experience of what a typical week as a student undertaking tertiary education entails. They received five mornings of lectures and seminars, and also undertook three afternoons of laboratory work.
One of the talks was entitled ‘How to Mend a Broken Heart’, which focused on the treatment of hypoxic heart disease using cell therapy. Lab work included DNA electrophoresis on a bacteriophage’s DNA, which resulted in the satisfaction of seeing the fragments ordered by size under UV light.
Beyond the academic work, the pupils enjoyed Hungarian meals and also undertook cultural visits in the late afternoon and evening, including the early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae), a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Trip leader and biology teacher, Sudip Burman-Roy commented: “The lecturers were particularly impressed by the quality of questioning from our pupils as they demonstrated their ability to link what they had just heard with their prior knowledge. Dr Csaba Fekete gave up a vast amount of time and put together a fantastic schedule for us, for which we are most grateful.”
Pupil, Anna Pathak, commented: “The best part of the teaching programme was doing DNA electrophoresis on a bacteriophage’s DNA and having the satisfaction of seeing the fragments ordered by size under UV light. It let us try something carried out by professional biologists and felt like the first steps towards deciphering the genetic code of the bacteriophage itself – something I had only taken as facts and numbers, too complicated to understand let alone find out myself.”