On 25th and 26th November, the National Research Fund (FNR) organized the 8th edition of the Researchers’ Days at the Rockhal in Esch/Belval. The Researchers’ Days aim to promote science and research to the public. As in 2016 and 2018, the team of the Clinical and Applied Virology participated in the 2022 edition, this time presenting the workshop “Infected or not: the science behind detecting a viral infection”.
Dr Lisa Hefele (left) and Dr Chantal Snoeck (right) guiding pupils through a hands-on PCR-experience
In a playful and easy manner, the team of Dr Judith Hübschen explained the principles behind “rapid antigen test” and “PCR test” to the lay audience. Using self-constructed DNA bases and 3D virus models, visitors were provided with a hands-on experience to illustrate the different steps of real-time PCR, primer specificity, mode of function of DNA polymerases and fluorescent probes. Pipetting trials were popular and people were amazed to see a real thermocycler.
More than 2000 secondary school students and their teachers visited the event on Friday, making it a very busy day for the team. The event also opened its doors to university and PhD students for the first time this year. On Saturday, the booth was practically overrun with more than 4000 visitors coming to the event. The topic chosen for the workshop very much sparked the interest of visitors from all ages. The group received very positive feedback from the FNR staff as well as from the visitors concerning presentation and understandable explanations of the terms “antigen test” and “PCR test” that have become part of everyone’s vocabulary during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participating in this outreach activity was an enriching and motivating experience for the whole team, who is looking forward to the 2024 edition!