Citizen science project

Teenagers in Devon will be mentored by experts at the University of Exeter, and will gain first-hand experience of all aspects of scientific research, from project planning to public engagement.

The citizen science project will see the Year 12s design a study to assess the effects of reducing consumed levels of a common additive to plastic food and drink packaging - Bisphenol A (BPA). Previous studies have suggested that exposure to the chemical may cause changes to how some of our genes behave.

More than 120 students from six schools will design and take part in a week-long diet to consume fresh or unpackaged foods. Teenagers are known to be the group with the highest levels of BPA in their bodies, and studies have indicated that levels of several common chemicals associated with food packaging can be reduced by up to 70 per cent in just one week by simple dietary measures. The students will give blood and urine samples before and after the diet. They will assess the results by looking at BPA levels in urine and the expression of genes that are responsive to BPA. Laboratory chemicals for the study are being supported by Life Technologies and BD Technology.

As well as analysing their findings, the students will be co-authors on a research paper that will be submitted to an academic journal for publication. . They will also devise and deliver a programme of community and public engagement to communicate the project more widely.

You can Read more. about the project here

More articles     Posted on: 06 July 2015