Cambridgeshire Students Celebrate World DNA Day 2023 with Scientists from Illumina

11 primary schools across Cambridgeshire took part in hands-on activities to explore genomics in the classroom. This practical programme was delivered by our partners at Illumina, a global leader in DNA Sequencing. The event was designed to ignite curiosity and broaden school children’s understanding of science in practice and an excellent opportunity to learn about genetics, DNA and the impact it has had on modern science and medicine.

The students who took part made the most of the opportunity and took the experiment incredibly seriously whilst having a great time. Young people’s faces lit up as they reached into their test tubes and pulled out genuine DNA strands. This memorable moment may be the spark which inspires young people to be future scientists!

“Illumina are very happy to be celebrating DNA Day this year on what will mark 25 years of innovation. By partnering with Cambridge Launchpad, Form the Future, and Cambridge Science Centre we hope to provide primary school students with an engaging and impactful experience, allowing them to discover the exciting career paths available to them on their doorstep. We hope this collaboration also contributes to enhanced social mobility, ensuring that all aspiring individuals have a chance to thrive in their chosen careers, no matter their background.”

Jo Lee, Associate Director, Talent Acquisition, Europe

Strawberries are a great choice for this activity as they are easy to obtain, contain a lot of extractable DNA, and are safe to handle.

“It was a pleasure to welcome the scientist volunteers from Illumina who kindly gave up their time to share their expertise with the children. It was great to experience some of the ‘wow’ factor of being able to see DNA directly as well as to use scientific equipment that we wouldn’t normally have access to. It was also fantastic to hear about the work of local companies to inspire the children to start to think about their own futures and the opportunities that might be available to them if they pursue a scientific career. In these straitened times, we were also delighted to be gifted a large set of glue sticks and pencils for school use! We are grateful to both Illumina and Form the Future especially the individuals involved for making the initiative possible.”

Peter Edwards, Teacher at Fulbourn Primary School

DNA Day is an important day for celebrating the achievements of science and the advancements in genetic research. It’s a reminder of the impact that science can have on our lives and the importance of continued research and education.

A huge thank you to the team at Illumina for coming together with us to make this day possible. We can’t wait for DNA 2024 and the opportunity to inspire more young people through the wonders of science!