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  • Writer's pictureFengzhu Xiong

Ana winning runner-up at the IOP heat

Congratulations to Ana Hernandez-Rodriguez, a PhD student in our lab, who has won the Runner-up in the competition 3 Minute Wonder (https://www.iop.org/3mw) in the IOP East Anglia Branch Heat for visualising a chick's life using atomic force microscopy.



Ana had the challenge of explaining her research to a layman audience, to make it engaging and to convey the importance of basic research. Using a mirror and a laser pointer she recreated a large-scale Atomic Force Microscope and showcased how she can perform direct tissue stiffness measurements on chicken embryo tailbuds. She then explained in detail the stiffness maps obtained from these measurements, and how the physical tissue properties correlate with different tissue types. Ana decided to participate in the competition as she strongly believes in the importance of science communication. It was inspiring that many of the audience members were teenagers, at the cusp of deciding what scientific career to pursue. A major motivator was showcasing how using physics to understand biological questions is a crucial step in furthering our understanding of embryo development, and to inspire these young researchers to pursue an interdisciplinary scientific career.


The first place of the competition went to Dr Jonathan Bar David, who played the music of molecules.

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We are happy to announce two summer student placements generously supported by the Centre of Physical Biology - note that non-Cambridge students can also apply! http://to.eng.cam.ac.uk/teaching/urops/

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