[This article has been written by Elisabet Guiral predoctoral researcher and project assistant, and Raül Toran, Outreach Responsible]
Researchers from ISGlobal’s Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative have enjoyed taking part in an Escolab workshop series entitled “Connecting Research and Classrooms”
This year, researchers from ISGlobal’s Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative have enjoyed taking part in an Escolab workshop series entitled “Connecting Research and Classrooms”. EscoLab is an initiative of the Barcelona City Council involving various Catalan universities and research centres. During the pilot project, which took place during the 2017-2018 school year, children at local schools studied theoretical content designed by their teachers in collaboration with the scientists before taking part in activities at the participating research centres. The entire process was integrated into the curriculum for the school year.
As part of this pilot project, researchers from our Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative organised an activity for secondary school students on the danger of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria that cause infections in humans. This activity kicked off with a highly participatory class taught by Dr Ignasi Roca, followed by a laboratory session at the Esther Koplowitz Centre, where students created antibiograms of bacteria responsible for infections in fictitious patients. Each pair of students was assigned a specific clinical case and had to figure out which antibiotic was most appropriate for treating the infected patient.
We organised an activity for secondary school students on the danger of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria that cause infections in humans
Later, during a final discussion session back at the school, the students proposed treatments for their patients. Through this exercise, the students came to understand the importance of using antibiotics properly in order to prevent the appearance of new mechanisms of resistance.
The students also took part in a guided tour of ISGlobal’s research facilities. During the tour, they met scientists who discussed their day-to-day work and fielded questions about the training required to become a researcher and other topics of interest to the students.
Back in the classroom after their visit to the research centre, the students created scientific posters that showed what they had learned. On 15 March 2018, the students presented their posters at the closing session of the EscoLab Community Meeting at the University of Barcelona’s Faculty of Medicine.
The students were asked to address a challenge posed by the Initiative: “How can we prevent antimicrobial resistance?”
As a follow-up to the workshop, nine student teams from Escola Vedruna de Gràcia participated in an EscoLab-affiliated contest called “We Have an Idea”. The students were asked to address a challenge posed by the Initiative: “How can we prevent antimicrobial resistance?” This question generated elaborate, well-documented, scientifically valid proposals, which are now being evaluated by a panel of judges that includes members of ISGlobal’s scientific team. The winners were announced at the Festival of Science organised by the city’s “Barcelona Ciència” programme.
For the members of the Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative who took part in this EscoLab pilot project, the experience was very positive. Activities of this sort are an ideal way to bridge the gap between science and society at large, and they are particularly effective at reaching students who will soon be deciding what to study at university. The students were very curious and eager to take part in addressing the problem of antimicrobial resistance, and we hope they will pass on everything they learned to their friends and family. Initiatives like this one can help to raise awareness about the importance of proper antibiotic use in treating infections.