BBC Look North investigates students’ research at
St John Fisher
BBC Look North reporters visited St John Fisher in Dewsbury to learn more about students’ latest research endeavour, DNA Origami.
The secondary students from St John Fisher have become some of the youngest people to construct artificial structures using DNA. Towards the end of last term, the students joined pupils from Liverpool Life Sciences UTC, the Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Sussex and Tapton School in Sheffield to learn to more about an emerging field of science called DNA nanotechnology, as part of the IRIS pilot for DNA Origami.
The process has been mind-blowing. The graduate level equipment has been an incredible challenge and I am grateful for the opportunity to see a different side of STEM.
The media visit to their school was an opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge. During the project they learned how to manipulate DNA to enable them to design 2 and 3D objects out of the self-building material.
Students have enjoyed the opportunity to work beyond the curriculum and delve deeper into their topics.
“The process has been mind-blowing. The graduate level equipment has been an incredible challenge and I am grateful for the opportunity to see a different side of STEM,” says Hannah, year 12 student from St John Fisher.
“I’ve loved the experience of working on this project. It has broadened my horizons on how multidisciplinary STEM is and how beautiful the intricacy of DNA is whilst being at a nanomolecular level. It has even taught me scientific, computational and team-based skills. It’s an amazing experience,” says Hamdaan, another year 12 St John Fisher student.
This unconventional skill is worth learning, according to IRIS, the Bragg Centre for Materials Research at the University of Leeds and Henry Royce Institute. These organisations worked together to develop DNA Origami. Their aim is to introduce young people to the emerging field of nanotechnology, which is at the forefront of research within materials science, and inspire the next generation of research scientists.
“We are pleased to introduce DNA Origami to UK schools as it’s such a fun and a creative way to intrigue students about DNA and introduce them to the exciting field of nanotechnology,” says Jo Foster, Director for IRIS.
“The need to be imaginative and creative are often overlooked when considering science. Yet, it is precisely these characteristics that enable the greatest leaps of inspiration. DNA Origami gives students the space to imagine, create and discover,” says Dr Andrew Lee, Centre Manager, Bragg Centre for Materials Research, University of Leeds.
Find out more about DNA Origami and why you should get your students involved.
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