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Operation ouch

TV CBBC’s “Operation Ouch” comes on board

Published on: 17 October 2019

Our bodies produce an astonishing litre and a half of mucus and slime a day. A grim but fascinating fact, that children TV programme “Operation Ouch” brought to life with slimy fish and our experts.

TV presenter and medic Dr Xand – one half of the TV doctor duo – joined PhD researcher Cassie Bakshani on board the University’s boat the RV Princess Royal and in her lab to explore the secrets of slime and how it can help fight infection.

Watch the slime-producing hagfish and find out about the fight to stop bacteria on the BBC iplayer (from 20 minutes in)

Slime and mucus can stop bacteria in its tracks which is why it holds such attraction for Cassie Bakshani and her colleagues. They are studying the protective properties of slime – including gathering samples from the rather unattractive hagfish.

Filming back in the summer, Dr Xand joined the research team on board the ship to collect the hagfish which produce copious amounts of slime to protect themselves from predators.

Studying this slime can help our researchers understand how it works as Cassie explained to Dr Xand: “Most bacteria won’t be able to get through the mucus barrier, it is really sticky but there are some which have this really sophisticated ability to swim through the mucus.

“If we can understand more about how they can do that then we can understand more about how to stop them. We are trying to develop a synthetic mucus to help us treat infection in hospitals.”

And inspiring a future generation of scientists, Cassie added that her job was, “one of the most glamorous in the world!”

Presenter Dr Xand handling slime from the hagfish as he interviews PhD student, Cassie Bakshani

Operation Ouch!

Find out more about the serious side of the research here and watch Operation Ouch! on the BBC iplaye

Presenter Dr Xand handling hagfish slime during filming for Operation Ouch!

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