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Preventing the Antibiotic Apocalypse - Free Public Science Event

On 14 June 2017, INTEGRATE AMR hosted a public science event at the Warwick Arts Centre on the topic of Antibiotic Resistance. The event kicked off with a myriad of interactive activities: ‘Antibiotics Unearthed’, ‘Microbe Discovery Zone’, ‘Virtual Reality Protein Explorer’, ‘Surgeon X’ and ‘Science Speakers’.

At dinner, artist Sara Kenney and collaborator Dr Harriet Palfreyman, a medical historian, described the creative process behind comic book Surgeon X, which combines science and art to depict a post-antibiotic dystopian London.

A film screening of ‘CATCH’, and Q&A session with director Paul Cooke, continued the apocalyptic theme. CATCH is the emotion-filled tale of a father and daughter living in quarantine, faced with impossible choices.

Outreach Stands

Stand 1: Surgeon X

Surgeon X is a new comic exploring the antibiotic apocalypse from the perspective of a brilliant vigilante doctor.

Come to our interactive stand to Meet comic writer and film director Sara Kenney. Find Out more about the striking premise of this medical thriller, set in a near-future London where antibiotics no longer work. Have a Go on the Surgeon X Enhanced Comic multi-content app.


Stand 2: Microbe Discovery Zone
Make the unseen seen – it’s science not magic.

Since their invention by Robert Hooke in 1665, microscopes have been an indispensable tool of biology, revealing the existence of cells and living forms too small to see with our naked eye.

Meet early career microbiologists from the Warwick AMR Lab working out new ways to combat infections. Find out about the different types of bacteria and how doctors and other health professionals recognise them. Have a Go on the microscope, and see if you too can spot the difference between ‘Gram-positive’ and ‘Gram-negative’ bugs – What might this mean for patients?



Stand 3: Electronic Nose – Sniffing out Disease

E-noses work on a similar principal to the human nose, recognising smells by their unique aroma. Researchers at the Warwick Biomedical Sensors Laboratory developed the first commercial electronic nose (e-nose) in the early 1990’s. Since then e-noses have used in a variety of applications – telling if food has gone off, or if someone is suffering from a bacterial chest infection.

At the E-nose stand, you can Meet researchers from the Biomedical Sensors Lab. Have a Go breathing into our e-nose device and see what it picks up. Find out more about ongoing research into sniffing out disease and how this could help reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics.


Stand 4: Antibiotics Unearthed
Could the next antibiotic be in your garden? The Antibiotics Unearthed project gives the public, students and teachers a chance to work alongside scientists to discover new antibiotics from the bacteria in soil.

Meet scientists from the Wellington Research Group involved in the project. Find out more about the need for new antibiotics and why it is so hard to make them. Have a Go at discovering new antibiotics from the soil around us – we’ll talk you through the steps.



Stand 5: 3D Protein Explorer

Proteins are the building blocks of life, vital to our existence and found in all organisms. Meet physicists from the Disordered Quantum Systems group working to solve the structure and mechanisms of proteins to better understand how the antibiotic Penicillin works. Put on our virtual reality headset and Have a Go at playing with proteins in 3D. Pick them up, spin them, throw them… And Find out how virtual reality could help us create the next antibiotic.


Stand 6: Science Speakers
Find out why Antibiotic Resistance is one of the greatest challenges we face and requires the combined effort of the public, government, doctors and researchers from all disciplines.

Meet researchers from different fields working together to make a difference. Have a go challenging our speakers with any questions you may have, and feel free to spark a debate - Our scientists are here to hear your thoughts


Dinner Speakers

Sara Kenney, Surgeon X
Surgeon X is a debut comic by writer and filmaker Sara Kenney, funded by Wellcome Trust arts grant. The setting is a dystopian London in the near future, where antibiotics no longer work. Rosa Scott is a brilliant NHS surgeon gone rogue, a vigilante doctor who uses experimental surgery and black market drugs to treat patients. Dr Harriet Palfreyman, a professional historian at the University of Manchester, was responsible for advising Surgeon X’s wider world, taking inspiration from past health crises such as the 1665 plague epidemic in London.
surgeon x
Paul Cooke, CATCH
CATCH is set in a near future, where all antibiotics have stopped working. The film follows a father, Tom, and his daughter, Amy, quarantined in their house during a lethal bacterial pandemic. Their fragile existence is threatened when one of them gets sick. First-time directors Paul Cooke and Dominic Rees-Roberts present the crucial issue of antibiotic resistance as a story that might so easily be part of our children's future. Professor Tim McHugh, a TB researcher at UCL, was one of the scientific advisors on the film.






Outreach Volunteers

Symposium Delegates from the University of Southampton