Over the summer, a group of seven pupils in the Lower Sixth Form travelled to Dublin for the International Society of Animal Genetics (ISAG) conference at the University College of Dublin.

The conference provided an invaluable opportunity for pupils to get a feel of how molecular biology can be applied in the real world in various practical areas such as agriculture and medicine. 

Oundle pupils were joined by two pupils from The Peterborough School who had already participated in a collaborative Sixth Form project on molecular biology.

Over the course of the four-day trip, the pupil delegates had the chance to attend a variety of lectures ranging from the application of molecular biology in equine parentage testing to various reports on microbiomes. Talks and workshops on different topics happened simultaneously, and there was therefore an element of choice which varied from bovine genetics to learning about the genomics of aquaculture species.

The lectures were given by researchers currently working in the field from various consortiums around the globe.

After two days of lectures, the group took a break from the university and visited the Kilmainham Gaol, where they had the opportunity to learn about the Irish War of Independence, and see where various political figures had been held. There were organised trips to the library at Trinity College, Dublin, where they saw the Book of Kells, and a tour of the Weatherby’s Irish Equine Centre (IEC). As a fully equipped laboratory aiming to protect the wellbeing of Ireland’s horse population, the IEC houses the complex equipment used in genetics research that the pupils had previously heard about in the lectures. The visit provided them with the chance to see the wide range of analytical equipment involved in molecular biology and insight into how this is used in a real setting.