LSTM’s vector group took part in National Insect Week 2016 at the World Museum in Liverpool at the weekend. Approximately 1000 members of the public, old and young, descended on the museum to enjoy and explore the exciting activities on offer.
Their family-friendly exhibition entitled The Mosquito Diaries showed the people of Liverpool the innovative life-saving research being undertaken at LSTM, in collaboration with the University of Warwick. In particular, Mosquito Diaries illustrated LSTM’s research involving cameras tracking mosquito flight around insecticide treated bednets to assess how insecticide impacts mosquito behaviour, and how educational gaming can be used to explain insecticide resistance.
The team communicated three key messages to members of the public, with a view to inform, inspire and involve them in their research: Mosquitoes transmit malaria, insecticide treated bednets protect people from bites and, thirdly, how insecticide resistance threatens malaria control. These messages were illustrated through a competitive buzz-wire game, designed to mimic the flight track of a mosquito around a bednet, which encouraged the public to adopt the role of the mosquito in locating the net and navigating around a human-seeking flight path. Computer games developed by LSTM’s Engaging Tools for Communication in Health (ETCH) team allowed visitors to test virtual mosquitoes for insecticide resistance. Furthermore, live mosquito demonstrations and a mosquito making craft activity encouraged younger visitors to consider different aspects of mosquito anatomy and how mosquitoes use these features to feed on people.
The Mosquito Diaries team are now preparing for presenting their exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London, next week.
This event was part of LSTM’s public engagement strategy. If any other organisation is interested in working with LSTM in public engagement events, please contact Public Engagement Manager Elli Wright.