Scientists from the University have been working with inner-city school children, carrying out research into a condition which affects roughly one billion people worldwide. The 29 youngsters, from Trinity Church of England High School in Hulme, conducted an eight-week experiment investigating the development of eggs from worms which infect the gut.
The pupils learnt how worm eggs infect children around the world, causing malnutrition and sickness, and how these infections are responsible for children missing out on education. They treated worm eggs with different substances to try and stop them from developing into worms, with the hope of finding new ways to prevent the spread of disease.
They made an exciting discovery when realising that clove oil reduced egg development by 50%. As clove oil grows in many places where worm infections exist, they may have found an effective natural therapy to reduce the spread of worm infection.
Pupils showcased these results as part of a presentation day for parents, staff, and students at the University. Faculty researcher Professor Richard Grencis presented certificates to all the participants and even had prizes for a few. Ann Flatman, Deputy Headteacher at the school, said:
“The Trinity Community is extremely proud of our pupils and the work they carried out during this Royal Society Research Project. It’s a joy to see pupils engaged and learning practical scientific skills. It‘s extremely important to us that our pupils gain a real understanding of the hardships faced by others within our global community. The fact that they have stumbled across a potential solution to a condition that affects millions of other children worldwide is an added bonus, to say the least.”
Dr Jo Pennock, from the Institute of Inflammation and Repair, said:
“Most of the children and parents had never been to the University and didn’t know much about what scientists did. We hope that by working more closely with local children, we’ll encourage them to take up science as a subject choice and a career.”