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The Cambridge A Level Physics class journeyed across the road to attend a workshop at the Rhodes University Biological Science Department. The group was hosted by Prof. Adrienne Edkins and her research team: Dr Laura Dingle, Dr Nyeleti Vukea, and Dr Richwell Mhlanga.
With the University closed for the Easter holiday and graduation ceremonies, the students had the run of the undergraduate laboratory where they were guided through a hypothetical forensic scenario. Using electrolysis, the students separated out the molecules in the ink and with Dr Dingle’s help interpreted the results to correctly identify the pen used in writing a ransom note. The experience also included a trip to the Tissue Culture Facility, where Dr Vukea showcased the methods involved in maintaining and working with tissue cells as well as giving the students a chance to view various cells. Finally there was a trip to the Fluorescent Microscope with Dr Mhlanga to see cells which had been ‘tagged’ to glow under certain wavelengths of light.
This marks the second trip to Rhodes University as part of a program to provide exposure to academics at a university level. The class visited the campus in February where they were met by Dr Vincent Smith, who took them through the basics of crystal growing and X-ray crystallography, and Dr Jo-Anne de la Mare who gave them an inside peek at the labs where her research team works with cancer cells.
Dr Kate Bryan