From June 8 until June 10 a group of 30 bachelor and master students visited Oxford. We visited multiple departments at the University of Oxford and a company, called Oxsybio. Finally, we also received a lunch lecture in the sun from a former Nanobiology student that finished a master mathematical and theoretical physics in Oxford.
On Friday we divided the group into two so that visiting Oxsybio would become a lot easier. Both groups visited the department of biological physics, Micron (the imaging facility at the university) and Oxsybio.
At the department of biological physics, the group received a tour by two PhD students. They explained their research methods, where they mainly used confocal microscopy and FRET (Förster Resonance Energy Transfer). These subjects were familiar to all students, but it was enlightening to see how they are used during research. A postdoc also explained his research using single molecule microscopy.
During this visit to the University, we also stopped by Micron, the imaging facility of the university. This department both facilitates other researchers during their research and develops new microscopes. These new microscopes are all open-source when published. We were guided through their facilities at the new biochemistry department. This facilities hosts microscopes useful for very different kinds of research. These facilities included for example a two-photon microscope useful for deep-tissue imaging mainly used to research zebra fish. In the coming few months a new cryo-EM method would be build from scratch. Some microscopes took a long time to finish. One microscope was not finished after 9 years of working on it. The final steps, the adaptive optics, were just started.
Meanwhile, the other group visited Oxsybio. Oxsybio developed a method for cell free biology 3D printing.This 3D printing can be used to print biomaterials enclosed in lipids into functional materials and tissues. This will be a cell-free environment. The technique was published on the front cover of science in 2013. These methods can be used for various several applications, like a ‘retina’. During our visit we could get to know the background of the researchers and we got a tour through the labs.
On Saturday morning we visited the Biochemistry department. Prof. David Sheratt talked to us about his long research career focused on the repair of DNA. One of his postdocs showed the way they used microfluidics to research the growth of E. coli.
During the lunch a former Nanobiology student gave a lecture in the park on his Master in mathematical and theoretical physics. He also explained the University of Oxford through the eyes of an insider. Many subjects were touched upon, all quite far from the usual biophysics, including string theory, special relativity and black holes.
We hope all the students had a wonderful and informative time!