natural products

OpenPlant Scientists take part in Norwich Pint of Science Festival

In May 2017, the Pint of Science festival returned to Norwich. The festival, which is held over a few days, was a huge success, with many events being sold out days in advance. Each event offers the audience the chance to meet scientists at their local pub and discuss their latest research in an informal and welcoming atmosphere, whilst sipping on their favourite pint.

Two sell out events where those of OpenPlant Project Leader Professor George Lomonossoff and his PhD student Roger Castells-Graells, and a second event with OpenPlant’s Norwich-based Director, Professor Anne Osbourn.

George’s talk was entitled ‘Just Eat Your Greens – A New Way of Vaccinating?’ and took place at the York Tavern. It covered the use of a highly efficient transient expression system developed in his laboratory. This Hypertrans® system allows for the relatively quick and cheap production of large quantities of virus-like particles in plants, which have been proven to be effective as experimental vaccines.

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Roger presented ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Microscope: Viruses & Nanomachines’ taking the audience on a journey into the nano world of viruses. During the entertaining talks, the audience took part in various activities such as making a virus molecule out of pipe cleaners and creating virus inspired sketches on beer mats.


The following evening, Anne took to the stage at the St Andrews Brewhouse to present her ‘Finding Drugs in The Garden’ talk. Anne’s inspiring talk invited people into the plant kingdom to hear about its very own chemistry toolkit. She presented her teams current work harnessing the DNA that encodes the pathways to these chemicals and using them to produce designer molecules for medicinal, agricultural and industrial applications.


For the scientists taking part in the festival, it has proven to be a great platform on which to reach the public to talk about their research and build an understanding of their work within the local city of Norwich. After such well received talks and events, we very much look forward to the return of the Pint of Science Festival in 2018.