The Neuron Pod opens its doors

04 Mar 2019

Today, the Neuron Pod – a striking 10m high science education space – has officially opened. The giant space was inspired by images of nerve cells and is connected to the Blizard Institute (part of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry) via a bridge.

The Neuron Pod will be used to bring science to life for children and the local community by hosting live science shows, exhibitions and hands-on workshops.

The Neuron Pod is the latest development of Centre of the Cell, a science and health education centre and outreach project based at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Visitors get a chance to see what cell research looks like in real life, as it is the first science education centre in the world to be located within working biomedical research laboratories. Since it opened in 2009, over 180,000 young people and adults have joined one of Centre of the Cell’s activities.

Inside the main Centre of the Cell building, you can visit four pods, each inspired by cell science. The Neuron Pod follows this, with its architecture being based on the design of a nerve cell. It was constructed by from 13 large steel sections, pierced by thousands of fibre-optic 'hairs' which light up with multi-coloured lights at night.

Centre of the Cell’s Director, Professor Fran Balkwill said: “What’s really important about Neuron Pod is that it increases our ability to interact with the local community, and it will be exciting to see how this space evolves. Hopefully it will be a space where you can let your imagination run riot – it’s a very serious intention, but there’s this real sense of fun.”

The Neuron Pod provides a dedicated space for subject-specific shows and workshops to complement the Centre of the Cell’s ‘Pod Show’ in the adjacent building. After hours, they aim to use the new space to host community and cultural events. For older age groups, they plan to host careers talks, workshops and more to inspire the next generation of scientists and medical professionals.

The construction of the Neuron Pod was part funded by our corporate partners Aspen. Thanks to their generous commitment, the Centre of the Cell project will be able to reach 120,000 young visitors every year. Their support has been split between the Neuron Pod and 3D TOE machines. You can find out more about the impact of their donation below:

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