Microbe Steve and his pint

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement

Yana Wade is a Marie Curie Fellow at the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. She recently presented her research at the Science Slam in London and was awarded second prize for her presentation: a chance to present her research at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018. Below, Yana shares her experience.

Yana: “The Science Slam is a type of science communication activity. Its name comes from the Poetry Slam and the format is a humorous TED-style talk competition. It was developed in Germany over 10 years ago and has quickly become extremely popular, taking place in many countries around the world. This Slam took place in an old English pub with a warm and relaxing atmosphere. It was ideal for introducing my topic: construction of synthetic structures inside bacterial cells to enhance alcohol production by microorganisms. My story was supported by a glass of beer and a toy that represented my beloved friend – microbe Steve.”

Yana and microbe Steve, working hard to make our future "greener".

Alistair Jennings, Creative Director of the Collab Lab was a judge at the event. Collab Lab is an award-winning production company which supports scientists in making creative public engagement videos about science.

Alistair: “It was a pleasure to watch Yana speak. I would say that she is a highly charismatic presenter, with all the tools to bring science riotously to a general audience. I've worked with a variety of onscreen academics and I think that medium might be a great fit for Yana too.”

Yana: “I was delighted to hear this positive feedback from a person with such vast experience in science communication. I’ve been working on improving my presentation skills for a long time because English is my second language. As a member of the University staff, I had the opportunity to take fantastic courses on presenting and public speaking. Fortunately, Alistair has also pointed out my Achilles heel and, whilst I prefer to keep this a secret, I’m going to work hard in order to improve my skills and compete for the first prize next year. I’d say to young researchers – start to participate in a Science Slam and I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it!”

Vicky de Groof is a Marie Curie PhD fellow in the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies and attendee of the Science Slam.

Vicky: “I’m happy I’ve now finally seen a Science Slam and I was lucky to witness great presenters such as Yana in action! It is inspiring how she managed to turn something as complex as ‘the metabolic engineering of Geobacillus spp’ – say what?! - Into an entertaining story about Steve and a pint. Having seen such a good example, I’m definitely keen on taking part in a Science Slam next time.”

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement


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