The activities were carried out in the gardens inside the Beatriu de Pinós block (c. Rosselló 149-153, Barcelona), the inner courtyard behind the Esther Koplowitz Center, the IDIBAPS headquarters. The nearly 250 school-leaving and higher-education students who took part, from 10 different Catalan education centers, also visited the center’s biobank, the scientific platform that takes in and processes biological samples for research. This year, the workshops were centered around SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
Generació Ciència receives support from Barcelona City Council’s Cultural Institute (ICUB) and from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT). In 2018 and 2019, IDIBAPS organized the first and second editions of the activity.
How does PCR work? Students simulated the different stages of DNA amplification with the help of magnets that represented the four DNA bases. They also performed electrophoresis to learn how to separate and view the products of PCR amplification. The goal of the workshop was to familiarize the students with the basics of this technique, which is a key part of biomedical research and has helped to monitor and manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simulation of the PCR stages (left) and performing an electrophoresis (right).
Escape room: Emergency in the COVIDBANK: The students became scientists, responsible for processing a blood sample and finding out which patient it belongs to. The workshop was in the escape-room format, where participants had to solve problems relating to the virus and overcome different obstacles. The end goal was to teach the students how the COVIDBANK works (the bank of samples from patients with COVID-19) and in which studies on SARS-CoV-2 it is involved.
Visit to the IDIBAPS biobank