Increasing understanding and awareness of our research to a wide audience is an important part of our mission. We have a thriving public engagement programme that involves everyone at the MRL, from professors to PhD students, and work with a range of groups, including parents and children at key events such as:
Our investigators also take part in numerous other events and activities. Examples include:
BBC2 Horizon Special: “Why are we getting so fat?”
Over 60 per cent of adults in the UK are currently overweight or obese and this figure is set to rise. There is a growing feeling that obese people should be ashamed – it’s their fault, they have no will power and if they could just ‘eat less and exercise more’ the problem would soon be solved. Yet, despite millions of pounds being spent on this simple message, the UK is getting fatter every year. Cambridge geneticist Dr Giles Yeo believes that for many obese people, simply eating less is a lot harder than you might think – and he’s taking a road trip around the UK and America to uncover why. He meets the real people behind some of the more shocking newspaper headlines, and through their stories, reveals surprising truths which dispel commonly held myths about obesity. He gains access to scientists and doctors trialling cutting edge techniques to tackle the crisis – from a ‘miracle’ hormone injection to a transfusion of faecal matter, and even learns a thing or two about his own size and relationship with food. More information in this link.
MRL Festival of Medical Research: “We’re getting fatter; does it matter?”
This event included short introductions to the latest science from Sir Steve O’Rahilly, Paul Fletcher, Fiona Gribble and Giles Yeo and a panel discussion chaired by broadcaster Dr Chris van Tulleken, with questions posed by the audience. With plenty of time built-in to ask questions, air ideas and chat to the speakers over a glass of wine, the evening provided a thought-provoking perspective on some of the causes and consequences of obesity.
Pint of Science, Giles Yeo “Are your genes to blame when your jeans don’t fit?”
The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting and relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – all in the pub! Giles met the public on the evening of May 25th 2016 at the Maypole to discuss the wonderful and confusing world of healthy living. They looked at the past, present and future of our understanding of health to figure out how much social and biological inheritance determines who we are and who we can be.
BBC2 Horizon Special: “What is the right diet for you?”
Professor Fiona Gribble and Dr Giles Yeo from the MRL and MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit in Cambridge, together with colleagues Professors Susan Jebb and Paul Aveyard from Oxford, featured in a 3-part BBC2 Horizon special ‘What is the right diet for you?’ in Jan 2015, following the trials and tribulations of 75 overweight volunteers looking to lose weight. Researchers Fiona, Giles, Susan and Paul featured with Dr Chris van Tulleken at 2015’s Cambridge Science Festival and Oxfordshire Science Festival, where they discussed the latest thinking in weight-loss research. More information in this link.
Artificial Pancreas on display at the Science Museum in London
The Artificial Pancreas formed part of an exhibition at the Science Museum in London that looked at ground-breaking new developments in health diagnostics. Roman Hovorka is leading the team developing the artificial pancreas, which aims to make treatment of diabetes more responsive and less intrusive, and could be in use within the next few years. The Science Museum exhibition, titled, Too Much Information? formed part of the Who am I? gallery and was open from 29 June until 29 September 2015.
Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution
On Friday 30 May 2014, Sadaf Farooqi gave a Friday Evening Discourse entitled ‘Resisting temptation – the biology of appetite’ at the Royal Institution. The Discourse is a monthly lecture open to RI members and the general public. The 2014 series is particularly special as it celebrates the achievements of women in science today.
MRC Centenary open day on obesity and diabetes
The MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit and MRC Epidemiology Unit, the two MRC Units at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, opened their doors to the general public and study volunteers to celebrate the centenary year of the MRC. Visitors were able to take a guided tour of the laboratories, see displays on the latest research into obesity, diabetes and related metabolic diseases, talk to scientists and staff, and take part in various hands-on activities, all aimed to inform and stimulate debate on questions such as why we choose to eat the food we do, why is it unhealthy to have too much (or too little) fat, and how early environment affects health later in life.
As part of the day, Professor Sir Stephen O’Rahilly gave a public lecture ‘Getting to grips with the causes and consequences of obesity’.