11:26am Thursday 17 October 2019

Pupils discover new treatment to stop the spread of worm infection


The 29 youngsters from Trinity Church of England High School in Hulme, conducted an eight-week experiment with scientists from the University’s Institute of Inflammation and Repair looking at the development of eggs from worms that infect your gut.

The pupils learnt how worm eggs infect children around the world, hatching inside the gut and causing malnutrition and sickness. Infections can make children so ill that they miss out on important education.

In their experiment, the pupils treated worm eggs with different substances to try and stop eggs developing into worms, to stop the spread of disease.

They found for the first time that clove oil, a natural product which grows in many areas where worm infections are common, stopped egg development by 50%. This means that clove oil has the potential to be a natural therapy and reduce the spread of worm infection. Pupils then created posters showcasing their results, and took part in a presentation day with parents, staff and students from the University, 24 large pizzas and 150 pieces of cake!

Dr Jo Pennock, from the Institute of Inflammation and Repair, said: “Most of the children and their parents had never been to the University before and didn’t know very much about what scientists did. We hope that by working more closely with local children, we’ll inspire and encourage them to take up science, both as a subject choice but also as a career.

“Actually by the end of the project a quarter of them had changed their mind about scientists in general, which is always a plus!’’

All pupils received a certificate for participation and prizes were awarded, presented by Professor Richard Grencis from the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences. The project was funded by a Royal Society Partnership grant between Dr Catherine Alnuamaani from Trinity Church of England High School, and Dr Pennock.

Ann Flatman, Deputy Headteacher at Trinity Church of England High School, said: “The Trinity Community are extremely proud of our pupils and the work they have carried out during the Royal Society Research Project.  It is a joy to see pupils engaged and learning practical scientific skills.  As a church school it is 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 world wide is an added bonus, to say the least”.

Parent Alison Steadman, from Hulme, said: “I’ve lived in Manchester all my life but I’ve never been inside the University. This has been a fantastic day.”
The University team now hopes to secure additional funding from the Gates Foundation to further this research and understand how clove oil could potentially treat these infections. 

Notes for editors


For further information, please contact: Alison Barbuti | Media Relations Officer | Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences |The University of Manchester
Tel. +44 (0)161 275 8383 Mobile 07887 561 318 |Email: alison.barbuti@manchester.ac.uk

Images of pupils:
Microscope1: Maryam Nikdel Mazinan
Microscope2: Maren Fulton and Rebecca Cowtan
Microscope 3: Jordan Black, Henry Lam, Ryiad Mustafa

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.
The Society’s strategic priorities emphasise its commitment to the highest quality science, to curiosity-driven research, and to the development and use of science for the benefit of society. These priorities are:
Promoting science and its benefits
Recognising excellence in science
Supporting outstanding science
Providing scientific advice for policy
Fostering international and global cooperation
Education and public engagement

The Royal Society provides strategic and independent advice to the Government, its agencies and key opinion-formers, with the aim of improving science and mathematics education in schools and colleges across the UK. Our key goals are to ensure that we have a science literate public and to inspire as many young people as possible to study science and mathematics post-16. 

The Partnership Grants scheme offers up to £3000 of funding for schools who, through working in partnership with scientists or engineers, develop and deliver exciting and creative projects to engage young people with science. They allow teachers to increase their scientific knowledge and give scientists and engineers the opportunity to develop their communication skills, and engage with enquiring young minds. Most importantly, these projects give school students a taste of science and engineering today, and their relevance for society.

Share on:

Health news