Date & time

Fri, 9 Dec 2022
10:00 - 15:00


King's House Conference Centre, Manchester
King's Church, Sidney Street
Manchester, M1 7HB

Bookings closed

Bookings are now closed for this past event.

About this day

For A-level and IB students

Biology in Action returns this autumn! Five interactive and engaging sessions delivered by renowned scientists and communicators will inspire and motivate your students. Science writer Helen Pilcher will chair the event, and inspirational biology teacher Leah McClure will deliver a special session with hints and tips for revision and examination success will provide students with the tools to succeed. This is an unmissable and tremendously popular day, and we look forward to welcoming you and your students this autumn.

“I don’t remember a better student conference – we thought every speaker was excellent – just the right level, all animated, engaging and well prepared.”

Programme & speakers

Astrobiology – The Hunt for Alien Life Lewis Dartnell, University of Westminster

‘Astrobiology’ is the scientific search for life beyond our planet. Tour the planets and moons in our solar system which may offer the best hope, and further afield to alien worlds we’ve discovered around distant stars. Are we alone in the cosmos?

Lewis Dartnell

About Professor Lewis Dartnell

Lewis is an astrobiologist studying how microbial life might persist on the surface of Mars. He appears regularly on the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery channels.

Anti-venoms, pregnancy tests, and unlocking the secrets of our immune system- the miracle of antibodies. Sheena Cruickshank, University of Manchester

The word ‘antibodies’ is one we hear often these days but what exactly are they and why are they so important? This talk takes you through some of the science pioneers behind research into antibodies and how ground-breaking discoveries have changed the way we think about our immune system and transformed treatments and diagnosis of a whole host of conditions.

Sheena Cruickshank

About Professor Sheena Cruickshank

Sheena Cruickshank is an immunologist and Professor in Biomedical Sciences and Public Engagement at the University of Manchester.

The Brave New World of CRISPR Gene Editing Matthew Cobb, University of Manchester

Since 2013, CRISPR gene editing has allowed us to to change genes precisely and accurately. This has transformed discovery, and is beginning to change medicine. However, the unauthorised use of CRISPR on human embryos has already led to the birth of children with novel mutations of unknown effect. This talk explores the science and the ethics of CRISPR and why both are so important.

Matthew Cobb

About Professor Matthew Cobb

Matthew is Professor of Zoology at the University of Manchester. He made the BBC’s first programme on CRISPR, in 2016. In 2021 he wrote and presented a 3-part BBC podcast on the history of genetic engineering, Genetic Dreams, Genetic Nightmares. His latest book is The Genetic Age: Our Perilous Quest to Edit Life.

From genome to surgeon's table - tales from the oesophagus Tim Underwood, Professor of GI Surgery, University of Southampton

Join Tim to discover how genomics is allowing early detection of oesophageal cancer, uncovering the biology behind this disease and enabling life-saving surgery and treatment to be targeted to the individual.

Tim Underwood

About Professor Tim Underwood

Tim is Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery and co-lead of the Innovation for Translation Research Group (ITRG), University of Southampton. His team focus on understanding the response to therapy in a range of solid tumours, and the development of new treatments that target the tumour microenvironment, including immunotherapy.

Life Changing Helen Pilcher, Author and Science Communicator

Ever since our species first evolved, we have been tinkering with nature and altering the course of evolution. Now we share our planet with genetically modified wolves, pizzly bears and cloned polo ponies. Join Helen as she explores the legacy created by this evolutionary mischief-making and explores how humans are changing life on Earth.

Helen Pilcher

About Dr Helen Pilcher

Dr Helen Pilcher is a tea-drinking, biscuit-nibbling science and comedy writer. Her books include Bring Back the King: the Science of De-extinction and Life Changing: How Humans are Altering Life on Earth.