WISER outreach activities for Science Museum’s Year of Engineering

12.11.2018

On 24 October 2018, May and Lucinda led WISER-themed science and engineering activities at the Science Museum in London as part of the Museum’s Year of Engineering programme. This was part of WISER’s outreach activities to engage the wider public in our research. Our WISER theme featured in the programme for the day was:

Something in the Water

Would you like to swim in a lake full of worms? What if they were so small you didn’t know they were there, but they could still make you really ill? Meet the water engineers trying to keep us safe from these tiny terrors!

Well over 300 children participated in the activities which included making cercariae models using pompom and pipe cleaners as well as having a go at making sand filters using plastic bottles, sand and gravel. The children used glitter to make-up their own contaminated water and then filtered it, which was super cool as the filters completely trapped the pieces of glitter.

As it was a family week, the adults accompanying the children were not left out – there was a screen showing a video of the Schistosome cercariae, how they penetrate the skin and how they appear under a miscroscope. Another video which highlighted the dangers of swimming in surface waters in endemic areas was also shown. Samples of worms in formaldehyde and samples of empty snail shells in Petri dishes were on display.

A fun day was had by all!

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Capacity building at AAU

15.10.2018

Dr Michael Templeton travelled to Addis Ababa University last week with Laura Braun and Lucinda Hazell to lead workshops on Urban Wastewater and Storm Water Management and Transferable Skills for Masters and PhD Researchers. The workshops included a wastewater treatment design shortcourse and group design project, a site visit to a recently built wastewater treatment plant, and a day of group activities focused on team-working, creative thinking, and communication. The workshops were part of WISER’s Pathways to Impact.

Imperial College MSc students 2017-2018

3.9.2018

Congratulations to environmental engineering students Eric Ho, Xiuming Wei, Angela Mei and Rosie Luo for completing their MSc theses, and many thanks to everyone who supported their projects!
Eric: Schostosome cercaria viability studies at the Natural History Museum
Xiuming: Slow sand filtration for the removal of schistosome cercariae
Angela: Storage tank designs for inactivating schistosome cercariae in water
Rosie:
Techniques for changing water contact, sanitation and hygiene behaviours for schistosomiasis endemic regions

WISER Stakeholder Workshops in Addis Ababa and Mwanza

24.4.2018 and 27.4.2018

Workshops were held in April at the Getfam Hotel in Addis Ababa and at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mwanza, at which the WISER research activities were presented to stakeholders, who then shared their knowledge and information about their relevant current activities and priorities. Attendees and speakers included representatives from the Ethiopian, Tanzanian and Ugandan Ministries of Health and from a wide range of NGOs, charities, foundations and local university researchers. An afternoon session, facilitated by colleagues from Acting for Health, engaged invited members of the WISER case study communities, to explore their understanding of schistosomiasis and the challenges faced in solving it. While in Tanzania, the team also visited one of the communities and had a chance to do some snail hunting.

 

Global Health Day at Francis Crick Institute

4.12.2017

Michael Templeton presented at the Global Health Day 2017 - The UK Contribution to Innovation in Global Health, held at the Francis Crick Institute. The conference was a joint event by University College London, King’s College, Imperial College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, and the Francis Crick Institute.

ISNTD Water Conference 2017

23.11.2017

Members of the WISER team from Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum attended the ISNTD Water conference, held at the Natural History Museum. Michael Templeton spoke about the WISER project during the second session which was focused on Technology and Innovation in WASH for NTDs (see video below). He also helped lead a workshop with Fiona Allan on the gaps between WASH and schistosomiasis.  

ASTMH conference 2017

5.11. - 9.11.2017

Dr. Michael Templeton and Laura Braun traveled to Baltimore, USA to attend the ASTMH conference and GSA Schistosomiasis Control and Elimination meeting. The findings of the recently conducted systematic review of water treatment for the removal of schistosome cercariae were presented at the poster sessions.

Trip to Tanzania and Ethiopia

16.10. -  26.10.2017

In October, Fiona Allan and Laura Braun travelled to NIMR and AAU to visit the labs and potential sampling sites. In Tanzania, samples were collected from three villages along Lake Victoria – Kigongo, Sweya and Chole. Over two days, a total of 550 snails (including a few infected snails) were collected with scoops and dredges. In Ethiopia, numerous locations around Wonji (1 hour south of Addis Ababa) were sampled. This included lake shores, and canals on a sugar plantation. Despite the use of endod as a molluscicide in this area, schistosome-infected snails were collected.
Over the next months, the chlorination and filtration trials will be set up to determine the effectiveness of chlorine and sand filters in inactivating and removing viable cercariae from water.