Hulme schoolchildren team up with Manchester scientists to help tackle global gut worm epidemic

Inner-city school children teamed up with University of Manchester scientists earlier this year to help tackle a global condition which affects around one billion people worldwide – worms living inside humans.

Hulme’s Trinity Church of England High School were involved in the eight-week project that examined how the development of eggs from worms caused severe infections within the gut, largely causing problems among children.

Pupils tested worm eggs with different substances to see if egg development could be reduced.

Clove oil, a natural product accessible to most sufferers, was found to reduce egg development by 50%.

Dr Jo Pennock, from the Institute of Inflammation and Repair, said: “Most of the children and their parents had never been to the university before and didn’t know very much about what scientists did.

“We hope that by working more closely with local children, we’ll inspire and encourage them to take up science, both as a subject choice but also as a career.

“By the end of the project a quarter of them had changed their mind about scientists in general, which is always a plus.

Ann Flatman, Deputy Head teacher at Trinity Church of England High School, said: “The Trinity Community are extremely proud of our pupils and the work they have carried out during the Royal Society Research Project. 

“It is a joy to see pupils engaged and learning practical scientific skills – as a church school it is extremely important to us that our pupils gain a real understanding of the hardships faced by others within our global community. 

“The fact that they have stumbled across a potential solution to a condition that affects millions of other children worldwide is an added bonus to say the least.”

A parent, Alison Steadman from Hulme, said: “I’ve lived in Manchester all my life but I’ve never been inside the university. This has been a fantastic day.”

The project was funded by a Royal Society Partnership grant between Dr Catherine Alnuamaani from Trinity Church of England High School, and Dr Pennock.

Picture courtesy of University of Manchester, with thanks.

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