skip to content

APRIL 2022

Cambridge Science Festival

The future of molecular toxicology is bright! We had many young visitor participating on our activities at the Cambridge Science Festival 2022. This time the focus was on air pollution and our most affected organ by that, the lung. We used simple models (paper lungs) and modern technology (augmented reality) to help them understand how the lung looks like and works in our body.


APRIL 2020

Computational Toxicologist, Medical Research Council

"The RSC's "Faces of Toxicology" series aims to introduce some of the scientific topics and career opportunities in toxicology. In this video I provide some of my thoughts on computational toxicology, my background in chemistry and careers in toxicology while exploring some of the best science at the MRC Toxicology Unit." - Dr Tim Allen 


JUNE 2019

MRC Festival of Research & Clean Air Day - 20th June 2019

To celebrate the MRC Festival of Medical Research (#MRCFestival) and #CleanAirDay, researchers from the MRC Toxicology Unit and the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment spent the day with schoolchildren from across Manchester learning about the impact of air pollution on human health. Working alongside Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods installation, a series of climatically controlled pods recreating the experience of different levels of pollution present within five cities from across the globe, from the clean air of Tautra in Norway, through to London, New Delhi, Beijing and Sao Paolo. The children had the opportunity to experience the pods and then had practical hands-on demonstrations illustrating how we measure and research the effects of pollution on human health. Feedback from the day illustrated that the children really grasped the concept that pollution is a global issue and that it is potentially something that they have the power to influence in their everyday activities.

MARCH 2019

UniStem Event - 15th March 2019

On Friday 15th March the MRC Toxicology Unit invited 30 schoolchildren to the Unit to participate in the UniStem event 2019, in conjunction with the University of Leicester.

UniStem Day is an outreach event dedicated to stem cell research for high school students, and is currently the largest educational outreach initiative on stem cells and regenerative medicine in Europe. In 2018 the event was organised simultaneously by 74 universities across Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, UK and Hungary.

The school children attended short lectures and a web-based interactive event with other UniStem sites across Europe, and were also given the opportunity to visit the MRC Toxicology Unit Stem Cell laboratories.  

JUNE 2018

Leicester New Walk Museum Event – 23 June 2018

As part of the MRC Festival of Medical Research 2018, the MRC Toxicology Unit were at the Leicester New Walk Museum on Saturday 23rd June 2018.

The New Walk museum is situated within the historic, pedestrianised New Walk area of the city. It hosts a wide range of temporary and permanent exhibitions including work from local and international artists.

The Unit’s stand was focused on the subject of ‘Small Cells Big Ideas’ to give members of the public the opportunity to talk with scientists; who could explain their science in everyday language and explain how work at the MRC Toxicology Unit can help develop treatments for diseases such as Cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Interactive displays and games suitable for all ages were available, such as:

  • Can you identify parts of a human cell?
  • Learn about Stem cells and why we study them
  • Discover mitochondria; the engines of the cell, how do they work and why are we are studying them?
  • Hands on - enter a cell becoming part of its powerhouse, can you make it to work!
  • View the human DNA map to see the enormous amount of information needed to make a human body

The stand attracted a wide variety of visitors, who were keen to find out more about the medical research that is being conducted in Leicester.


JUNE 2017

Leicester Riverside Festival – 3 to 4 June 2017

The MRC Toxicology Unit hosted a stand at the Leicester Riverside Festival from 3rd to 4th June 2017.

Leicester Riverside Festival is a lively weekend of activities for the whole family, offering boat trips, live music, a variety of food stalls from around the world and an exciting choice of activities for all ages, making it a fun packed weekend not to be missed!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Leicester’s Riverside Festival, which has grown from a small Sunday afternoon event on Bede Park into a major two day festival and a summer highlight of the city’s programme.

The Unit’s stand was focused on the subject ‘Our medical research is funded by you – Ask us what we do’ to enable our scientists the opportunity to explain their science in everyday language to members of the public.

The stand attracted a wide variety of visitors, who were keen to find out more about the medical research that is being conducted in Leicester.


MARCH 2017

Peterborough school visit – 14 March 2017

A group from the Muller lab visited Peterborough School to give a series of talks to four different groups regarding their research and using animals in medical research.  Members of the lab also gave careers talks and interactive activities highlighting cancer cells with a fluorescent microscope.


JUNE 2016


MRC Festival of Medical Research – 18 to 26 June 2016

The first annual MRC Festival of Medical Research took place from 18 to 26 June 2016.  Research establishments from around the UK will be showcasing and discussing their work through events and activities.  Events included open days, public lectures/debates, activity days, workshops, interactive seminars and quizzes.

Fighting Disease with Science –  Highcross Shopping Centre, Leicester – 25 to 26 June 2016

Members of the public joined the MRC Toxicology Unit at the Highcross shopping Centre in Leicester (outside Debenhams, lower mall) to talk with our scientists about their work and take part in interactive displays to suit all ages. Our stand gave visitors the opportunity to;

Learn how cancers can develop, the genes responsible and how we perform experiments to study them.

Understand the drug discovery process and how MRC research directly impacts human health.

View a printed copy of the human genome to see the enormous amount of information it takes to make up one human body.

APRIL 2016

On 26th April 2016 Professor Anne Willis gave a lecture at the ‘Women in Science’ seminar to a broad audience at the School of Live Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton.

MARCH 2016

The Big Bang Science Fair 2016, Birmingham NEC – 16 to 19 March 2016

For the second year running the Public Engagement Team hosted an exhibition stand at the Big Bang Science Fair, which received over 70,000 visitors over 4 days!

The interactive stand featured a printed copy of the human genome (the 130 books would take up to 95 years to read!), a 3D ‘Guess What’ activity, a ‘Creepy Crawly Cancer Cells’ game and a challenging electronic buzz wire activity.  A big thank you to all our supporters, volunteers and visitors for helping make the event such a great success!

Parkinson’s UK East Midlands Research Support Network – 5 March 2016

The Parkinson’s East Midlands Research Support Network is for anyone who is interested in research into Parkinson’s and wants to support Parkinson’s UK’s research aims and objectives.

On Saturday 5th March a selection of our scientists hosted the 4th Annual Researchers’ Meeting for the Parkinson’s UK East Midlands Research Support Network.  Scientists from the local area gave short presentations to patients and clinicians about the progress they have made since last year.

UCL Biology in Action, Institute of Education, University College London – 2 March 2016

Professor  Giovanna Mallucci provided a public lecture at the UCL Biology in Action event entitled ‘Preventing brain degeneration: from molecules to medicines’.



Biomedical Society Lecture – Oxford High School – 29 February 2016

Professor Anne Willis gave an inspiring lecture to A level and GCSE students at the Biomedical Society at Oxford Girls Day School Trust about her current research.



On 17 November 2015 two of the Unit’s postdoc scientists visited a local high school to talk about careers in science and their current research work.


JUNE 2015

On 1st June 2015 a local college visited the University to hear about Ethics in Animal Research, where one of the Unit’s PhD students delivered a talk about using animals in research.


MAY 2015

The MRC Outreach Team visited a local primary school to provide practical lab experiments using ph testing and a talk on what it’s like to be a scientist.


MARCH 2015

Parkinson’s UK East Midlands Research Support Network

In March 2015 some of our scientists took part in the Parkinson’s UK East Midlands Research Support Network by providing small lectures for patients and clinicians regarding their scientific work in this area.

The Big Bang Fair 2015 , Birmingham NEC

The MRC Toxicology Unit rose to the challenge to host its first ever interactive stand at the Big Bang UK Young Scientist & Engineer Fair, which took place from 11-14 March at the NEC in Birmingham.

20 MRC Toxicology Unit staff and students volunteered to take part in the event, which is the UK’s largest science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fair, aimed at raising awareness of the exciting and rewarding opportunities available in these subjects, and is visited by over 75,000 people, primarily aged 7-19 each year.

Our exhibit, led by Professor Andrew Tobin and Paul Alexander, was an exciting mix of genetic codes, DNA, malaria, microscopes and electronic buzz wire games – which certainly proved very popular with children and adults alike.  We even received a special visit from The RT Hon Greg Clark MP, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities.

An estimated 6,000+ people visited our stand over the four days, with the ‘buzz wire’ game proving to be a huge attraction!

About our interactive stand

Visitors were invited to view a printed and bound copy of the human genome book which demonstrates the sheer size of a single human chromosome and how just a slight difference can determine our gender.

Interactive displays included observing a malaria parasite through a microscope; observing a real DNA sample; revealing a hidden world as viewed from an electron microscope, which included a ‘guess what’ game of some familiar objects.  We also created our very own electronic ‘GPCR buzz wire game’ to demonstrate how difficult (and expensive) it can be to get a pharmaceutical drug to market.


The activities reflect some of the work currently researched at the MRC Toxicology Unit and aim to make a complex subject more accessible and understandable to the general public.  In turn, we hope this will promote interest of careers in STEM.  Careers captains were available to discuss how to pursue a scientific career and also highlight that you don’t necessarily have to be a scientist to enjoy a career in science.

For further information about The Big Bang visit