In a ‘Zoom’ talk in January entitled “From mosquito bites to sniffer dogs” new BNSS member and volunteer, entomologist Dr. Sophie Wulff, gave us insight into the work going on at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). She started by describing what is known about how female mosquitoes detect humans in order to obtain their blood meal. She then went on to tell us about experimental work in Africa showing how the malaria parasite which is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito can change human odour to make mosquitoes more attracted to malaria-infected children and potentially increase transmission. Since dogs have a sense of smell up many times better than us they have begun to be used by scientists to try and detect human diseases by odour. So far, there has been work on certain types of cancer, Type 1 diabetes and recently, and topically, on those infected with Covid-19. She described some ongoing trials involving LSHTM and Durham University (more detail here) and work published from France & Germany. Finland is currently using sniffer dogs at Helsinki airport in a test using swabs from passenger’s skin which takes only one minute (more here).
As the BNSS is an associate member of the Quekett Microscopy Club, BNSS members are invited to enter either of two competitions as part of Quekex 2020 closing date 10th September 2020. The first competition is “Lockdown Microscopy“. The scope of this exhibition is deliberately wide to encourage as many people as possible to take part. There is no minimum requirement and entries can be as detailed as you choose to include an article, presentation or slideshow. In the second competition, Micrographic Art, the art can take any format. Drawing from microscope image for the purpose of recording as an alternative to photography, a photo, painting, textiles, model etc and should be accompanied by a title and description of the subject. Further details of both competitions here.
The last few weeks has seen two talks with an ‘ecological bent’. First Patrick Abbot described a Green Economic Growth programme in Papua. Part funded through the UK Government’s Climate Change initiative, it aims to develop sustainable low carbon developments in two Indonesian provinces. In an area still with 93% forest cover, the Programme is assisting local villagers and small businesses to set up systems for growing and marketing high value produce in a way that is compatible with maintaining the natural forest. In a partnership agreed between the UKCCU and the Indonesian Government, Patrick’s company provides expertise in research, technical assistance and skills development – more information here. Second, Bob Crooks talked about the staggering volumes of e-waste we are all producing and the metals used in electronic devices which we might need to mine rubbish dumps for. It made us all feel guilty about our own e-waste lurking in drawers in our homes – lecture details here
Second year BA (Hons) Fine Art students from the Arts University Bournemouth developed artworks in response to three partner organisations of which BNSS was one. Unfortunately, these did not result in public exhibitions due to the covid-19 pandemic. However, you can see some of student artists’ work here especially in the section on “Contemporary Artefacts” (from Steve Limburn, BNSS Education Officer)
FOLLOWING ADVICE, THE MUSUEM IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO THE CURRENT CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC.