Science -- Your Future, Scotland's Future
SCI-FUN shows -- Hot Topics in Research
SCI-FUN shows -- The Senses
SCI-FUN shows -- Stem Cells
SCI-FUN shows -- Climate Change
SCI-FUN shows -- Survival: ancient senses in a modern world
SCI-FUN shows -- To be announced
SCI-FUN shows -- Subject Choice
Stem Cells
Our Stem Cells show, developed in collaboration with the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, gives a brief (30 minute) introduction to an exciting area of current medical research, which holds great promise – and also offers many challenges – for society.

Using a variety of images and film clips, we introduce our audience to the following topics, among others:

  • An introduction: just what is a stem cell? How do naturally occuring stem cells help to maintain and repair your body?

  • How does a single egg cell become all of the 220 different types of tissue in your body? How can this help us to understand how to grow new tissues and organs.

  • What are the promises, ethical and medical problems surrounding the use of stem cells from human embryos?

  • How can problems such as transplant rejection be addressed by using embryonic stem cells whose nuclei have been replaced with one from an adult cell (A technique known as cloning, which also produced Dolly the Sheep)?

  • How can some of the problems described above be solved using iPS cells (using adult cells to produce stem cells that can go on to make any type of cell in the body)?

The show is driven by the presenter's commentary – there are few textual slides – and is aimed at not only S1/2 school pupils, but also adult audiences who have little scientific background, but who are interested in the subject matter.

Here are a couple of comments from schools who hosted the show during its first run in autumn 2008:

“It was a very successful day. The teaching staff found it valuable and pupil response was great. They especially enjoyed the activities but quite a few commented on the stem cell presentation – it opened many eyes to the possibilities. It also complemented very well our curricular input to "Moral Dilemmas" where groups of pupils have to discuss issues – including stem cell research – and produce class presentations with their findings and opinions.”
Iain Stewart, former PT Science Development, Preston Lodge High School

“Adding to my previous comments, I can say the senior management team were very impressed by you guys, your presentations and also the kids’ behaviour!
Many of the kids have been asking a lot about various scientific careers
I think you have inspired and set off a few sparks of interest!!”
Ian Haining, Tynecastle HS

More school quotes can be found on our shows page.

Poster Competition
Click here for the results of the Stem Cell poster competition, 2008
Useful Stem Cell Links
An excellent site from The University of Utah's Genetic Science Learning Centre, with many useful films and animations, to introduce you to the subject of stem cells. In particular, there are a couple of excellent interactives: "What is a Stem Cell?", and "What are some different types of Stem Cells?". (You'll need to have both Javascript and Flash active on your computer.) Stem Cells intro from Utah
This link takes you to a page at the Children's Hospital Boston, where you can play the Virtual Stem Cell Laboratory: "Manipulate a computer-simulated colony of embryonic stem cells to create a variety of adult cells." (Again, Javascript and Flash must be enabled.) Virtual Stem Cell laboratory
The EuroStemCell site provides information for researchers and the public alike. We've included here the link to the public access page, where you can find out more about the basics, watch short films, or view some interesting stem cell images. EuroStemCell public resources
This link takes you to an excellent short film from the Rikan Centre for Development in Japan, which introduces you to the ideas behind Stem Cells, with some interesting images. Stem Cell introductory film
This National Academies site has many useful and interesting pages. We've selected one here which looks at the future possibilities of stem cell research, though you'll find interesting information under the "Stem Cell Basics" tab. Future possibilities
This website has condensed the basics of stem cells down to one page: useful as a starting point. Basic introduction
This is the US National Institutes of Health page on Stem Cells. You'll find basic information on the subject, film clips, and some other ideas (under "Downloads"...) NIH Stem Cells portal
The following link takes you straight to the EuroStemCell films page, where you can watch the excellent Stem Cell Story: a short film that introduces you to the concepts and issues surrounding the subject. Other films discuss the ethics of stem cell research. Stem Cell Story
The website "How Stuff Works" is a useful starting point for your investigations: it has lots of information on stem cells in its own pages, and many links to other sites. Stem Cell pages at "How Stuff Works"
The Microscope Imaging Station's pages describing stem cells, with links to some interesting film clips. Cells with Potential
A link to a page with a free booklet, which you can download and print out, giving you information on the history of Stem Cell research. "Understanding Stem Cells" booklet
Some pictures describing stem cell research, which might be of interest to you. "Understanding Stem Cells" figures
The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) provides public information on stem cells. We've included a link to their films and images page, but you might also want to click on the "Public" tab at the top of their web page. ISSCR Stem Cell Films
ESTOOLS is a group of European Stem Cell researchers. We've included a link to their "Smile of a Stem Cell" photographic exhibition. "Smile of a Stem Cell"
This is a brief introduction to stem cells, from the Medical Research Council's website. MRC introduction
Information on possibly the world's most famous sheep, Dolly: the first mammal to be successfully cloned. Dolly the Sheep