School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

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Newcastle team come up trumps for exhibition

Researchers from Newcastle University have contributed to a major outreach exhibition at the Eden Project, Cornwall, by helping produce Top Trumps cards.

Academics Michael Hall, Michael Goodfellow and Jeff Errington supplied images of bacteria to help support the Invisible Worlds exhibition held at the popular visitor attraction.

Antibiotics from soil bacteria

The Newcastle team are currently searching for new antibiotic natural products produced by soil bacteria, which can be used in the fight against drug resistant infections.

They are working in collaboration with Demuris, a University spin-out company, led by Nick Allenby.

Dr Rhiannon White, from the University of Exeter, invited the team to send her scanning electron microscopy images of bacteria Streptomyces hygroscopicus DEM20745. This is a natural product producing soil bacteria. 

Top Trumps cards

She wanted to use them as part of an innovative approach to engaging exhibition-goers - creating Top Trumps cards similar to those played with by youngsters that feature performance cars and Marvel superheroes.

Dr Hall said: "It is exciting for our research to be included as part of the Invisible Worlds exhibition at the Eden Project. Hopefully this will help to inspire a new generation of chemists and biologists to investigate the microbial world."

The Invisible Worlds exhibition intends to "reveal the world beyond our senses: too big, too small, too fast, too slow, too far away in space and time".

Invisible Worlds is supported by the Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England, the Wolfson Foundation and the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.

It's a permanent attraction at the Eden Project, which promotes the sciences to the public within a fun visitor experience.

The Top Trumps cards created for the exhibition at the Eden Project.
The Top Trumps cards that were created for the exhibition.

published on: 8 November 2018