Members who are involved in outreach activities with members of the public and local schools may be interested in our IB Factsheet HVCfP – high res version which gives some examples of the application of industrial biotechnology to the identification and utilisation of high value chemicals from plants. This document is available for download by Network members involved in outreach activities.
Working with Network members to deliver outreach
RLC-lab and the HVCfP network recently developed an innovative, practical extra-curricular STEM programme ‘Medicinal Compounds from Plants’ looking at the extraction and quantitative HPLC analysis of salicin from willow bark. The initial idea came in part from conversations at the HVCfP Annual Meeting in October 2015, when results of a HVCfP-funded Proof of Concept Project “New drugs from old: a phytochemical genetics and pharmacological screen of Salix” were presented by Professor Mike Beale of Rothamsted Research. 40 schools took part in a pilot study in 2015/2016, with a further 34 schools requesting free kits in 2016/2017. This activity supported a wide range of students, including A level Chemistry students, BTEC and GCSE students and those attending extra-curricular STEM clubs. See Feedback from ‘medicinal compounds from plants’
For more information about RLC-lab’s STEM Outreach Programme, which has been running for four years, visit http://www.rlc-lab.com/STEM.html
Royal Society of Chemistry provides funding support for ‘Medicinal Plant Chemistry’
The pilot study ‘Medicinal Compounds from Plants’ conducted by RLC-lab and HVCfP in 2015/2016 has led to a funding award from RSC to allow up to 50 schools to take part this activity in 2017/2018. Schools have been provided with a complete ‘experiment in a box’ practical chemistry activity and students’ samples were submitted to RLC-lab for quantitative HPLC analysis to generate a robust data set for follow-on classroom evaluation and discussion. This activity is designed to promote awareness of the practical applications of chemistry and industrial biotechnology to ‘real world’ situations.