Over 100 visitors joined Dr James Logan and his team in the Medical Parasitology Laboratory at the School to explore cutting edge entomological research on 18, 19 and 20 April 2013.
The ‘Secret Insects of Bloomsbury’ walks were part of the Wellcome Collection’s Who’s the Pest? series, which explores our complex relationships with insects and the ways in which they both help and hinder our lives. Dr Logan led visitors from the Wellcome Collection to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, before finishing the walk at the Grant Museum.
The lab sessions at the School were split into two activity areas which focused on how humans and insects interact: How attractive are you? and What’s eating you and what are you eating?
How attractive are you?
Visitors were invited to discuss why some people get bitten more than others and to test their own attractiveness to live aedes mosquitoes with the arm-on-cage trial. They also climbed inside thermal bags to see how scientists collect the smells we emit and analyse them to identify chemicals that attract mosquitoes.
What’s eating you and what are you eating?
The scientists introduced visitors to live bedbugs, houseflies and medicinal maggots. They showcased research looking at isolating the smells that attract bedbugs in order to develop traps for them. They discussed the negative impact flies can have on human health, including spreading serious diseases like trachoma, as well as the positive aspects of maggots – some species are actually very effective at cleaning wounds.
The next opportunity for the public to meet scientists from the School will be at the Cheltenham Science Festival which takes place in June. Dr Alma Adler and Dr Ken Eames will be discussing what their Flusurvey project reveals about the myths and truths of flu, while Dr James Logan will invite visitors to explore what makes insects tick.
Featured Image: Holding arm over mosquitoes. Credit – Wellcome Images