Successful “Fusion” molecular ecology workshop with Thomas Hardye School

A group of 12 sixth form students from Thomas Hardye School (THS) in Dorchester, an OFSTED outstanding school, visited Talbot Campus this week to take part in a molecular ecology workshop. The workshop was organized by Dr Demetra Andreou ( and Prof Genoveva Esteban ( from SciTech’s Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with Dr John Davy-Bowker (BU Visiting Fellow) and Dr Gloria Tapia from the River Laboratory (East Stoke, Wareham). The workshop is part of an ongoing Fusion project with Thomas Hardye School, funded by Rolls-Royce, that investigates invasive freshwater shrimps in Dorset. Prior to visiting BU, the sixth-form students collected river samples at the River Laboratory, isolated and identified the freshwater shrimps, and isolated the shrimps’ DNA, which was then sequenced. During the workshop, the students learned bioinformatics, handled the DNA sequences, and developed phylogenetic trees to investigate the potential origin of the invasive shrimps. The students will present their final findings at a symposium that will take place at Thomas Hardye School in the Autumn. Simon Lewis, Science teacher at THS and Leader of the Roll-Royce project, said: “The tour of your buildings and labs was very impressive and I know will have given the students a different perspective on what a science lab looks like and how different they are from a school environment. Meeting you both also really promotes the idea of Science as a future for them, meeting people they can relate to is so important and you gave such a positive idea of what science entails.“