Recognizing the importance of engaging beyond our laboratories and to create awareness about our research in discovery-based and translational research, the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) held an outreach event geared toward college students on 23rd October 2019. Through this event we sought to engage with students about the research in inStem’s laboratories as well generate interest in the upcoming India International Science Festival (IISF) 2019. IISF is an annual event targeting young and dynamic minds from across India to share in the vision of building interdisciplinary science in biology, physics, chemistry, and engineering.

At the half-day outreach event, college students from in and around Bengaluru heard about our research and the excitement of discovery as well the impact of research to human health and our daily lives. Interactions were conducted by students and postdocs from our laboratories, with some assistance from the faculty. The visitors engaged with various aspects of research, such as skin biology and wound healing; 3D tissue printing and tissue engineering; or using the seemingly simple flat worm Planaria to identify genes that control regeneration; possible strategies to ameliorate pesticide toxicity and the use of model systems such as Drosophila to study complex human disorders, amongst others. The displays included videos, pictorial representations as well as games and small discussions groups, which were developed and managed by energetic younger researchers from the inStem community. In all, more than 250 students from 14 colleges (from in and around Bengaluru) visited the campus. The students also had an extended tour of the ongoing Lab Culture-II exhibition, curated by Ishita Shah in collaboration with the Museums and Field Stations Facility (MFS) on campus. The exhibits explore the intersection of art and design with science and expanded the scope of the earlier interactions, using bright lights, musical notes and neat visual tricks to explain how the human lung responds to injury or how electrical impulses are transmitted in our brains. The exhibition also gave the students an appreciation of the interactions between the three institutes on campus, focusing on discovery (NCBS); translation (inStem) and innovation (CCAMP).

The caliber and enthusiasm of the college students was extraordinary and several were inspired to seriously consider research as a career path.

Participating colleges
Ramaiah College of Technology
Surana College
Maharani's College
KLE college
Bangalore Central University
Government Science College
BMS college
JSS College
Govt. Junior College, Hoskote
Fergusson College, Pune
East West College
Bishop Cottons Women’s Christian Collage
Srishti Institute of Art and Design
Mount Carmel College

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Photographs courtesy: Drs. Arjun Guha & Praveen Vemula, inStem