Akademeia students awestruck by fly practical

Last month we were delighted to host students from Akademeia School in Warsaw, as they visited the Department to learn about some of the research going on in Zoology. Hosted by The Wigby Group and principal investigator, Dr Stu Wigby, the group gained some hands on laboratory experience in observing fly mating behaviours.

"It was great fun hosting the Akademeia school students,” said Dr Stu Wigby. “We showed them the Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies that we work on, how the sexes look and move differently, and introduced them into the behavioural genetics and behavioural ecology of insect mating. They were full of great questions about the flies which made me realise how, despite over century of work on this species, there are still so many unknowns!"

Ben Hopkins, a graduate student in the Wigby Group, said: “Watching fluorescent-tagged sperm navigating through the female reproductive tract has to be one of the most amazing things we can do with the flies. It was wonderful for the Akademeia students to get a chance to see this cutting-edge technique, which promises to revolutionise the way we understand how sperm from different males compete to fertilise a female’s eggs. Given the brilliant questions the students were asking it wouldn’t surprise me if they are the ones who go on to make the breakthroughs in this area!”

The Wigby Group were thoroughly impressed by the enthusiasm and interest shown by the students, and were thrilled to be able to provide a formative experience for the budding scientists. We even heard through the grapevine that one student was so excited by the practical that he immediately bought a huge primer on advanced genetics from Blackwells!


If you are interested to enquire about outreach opportunities, please be in touch with the Department’s Communications and Outreach Officer, Caitlin Hamilton.