Biology Courses in Las Vegas Day 1

Biology Courses in Vegas!

I can hardly believe I’m here and what a contrast to the peace of the Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire where you are occasionally disturbed only by the clip clop of horses hooves. Here you are continually disturbed by erupting volcanoes, fireworks and the rattle of slot machines 24-7. I have already lost track of what is night or day. There are continual crowds of people but the great thing about the Venetian Hotel is that it is full of Italian music and Louis Prima on a permanent loop…..”Angelina, the waitress at the pizzaria”. Fantastic.

Biology Courses Vegas Trip

The Venetian Hotel is based on something between The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. There is marble everywhere, fountains in the foyer and, and wall and ceiling frescoes copied from Michelangelo;s work that go on forever. Or are they murals? I wouldn’t dare call them that. My hotel room is larger than my entire house, with two plasma televisions and gold plated taps in the bathroom! The hotel the size of a small town. But I could get used to it if I had to! And restaurants, bars and shops open 24 hours a day, I could certainly get used to that.

La Venetian Hotel

The hotel is better than your average Holiday Inn I guess. It contains two theatres, a Madame Taussards, art gallery, a golf course and three swimming pools including one beach. Oh and I think there are two nightclubs and numerous casinos. Did I say it was like a small town, well actually, it is more like a small city, in fact I think already has more attractions than Nottingham. And yes it does have a river running through it with gondola rides.

Last night I spoke to a lovely Italian gentleman who for $400 a month rents an apartment with swimming pool which is both considerably cheaper and larger than my rented property back home. Would I swap places, well I’d give it some serious thought.

Post by Viv

Forensic scientist skills – ballistics!

Forensic scientist skills and understanding of ballistics.

Forensic scientist ballistics
Image: Bullets and images
Creative Commons BY SA.

Content Authors:

Dr Mark Fowler


College, University, Specialist

OER Features:

A set of 18 photographs showing a series of fired and unfired bullets. Click through to Flickr to download them and REUSE them!

Forensic scientist training photographs

OER Description:

An important area that the forensic scientist needs to learn about and understand, and that undergraduate students on forensic science degrees will study is ballistics. This is the understanding of firearms and types of bullets that may well have been used at the scene of a crime, and the understanding of the trajectories of bullets to provide further clues and information.

An important step in finding the perpetrator of a gunshot crime will be identifying the weapon, and even if the weapon is not still at the scene of the crime, much information can be gained from the bullets which will provide valuable evidence. The bullets themselves will leave burn marks and traces of substances on the individual firing the machine. If the gun has any indentations of features, this will be transferred onto the bullet, so the bullet can lead the forensic scientist and crime team to a particular fire arm.

This open educational resource simply comprises of a series of photographs of different fired and unfired bullets. These are free to use and reuse in your own teaching or learning context – so feel free to package them up into other educational resources if you are a tutor, lecturer or professor. If you are a student studying to be a forensic scientist you are welcome to use these images as part of a coursework assignment.

Biomedical Science Taster Workshop for Schools

A collaborative project to produce a Biomedical Science taster workshop between Crompton View Primary School in Nottinghamshire and De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester has just been completed. The project called SAPPHIRE (Scientific Analogies, Primary Schools and Higher Education) was led by Dr Graham Basten, a lecturer in biochemistry at De Montfort. This type of activity is useful in giving pupils and students a taste of biology courses at university, and during the workshop Dr Basten was using an iPAD to show how mobile devices can be useful in classroom teaching.

Biomedical Science Funding

The project was funded by a prestigious Royal Society Partnership Grant which allowed the school to run a University Science Week, providing students with a taste of biomedical science and biology courses at university. The project was also funded by a De Montfort University Teacher Fellowship awarded to Dr Basten. The week was based around healthy eating, and Dr Basten explored the benefits of fruit and vegetables with the children and measured folic acid levels in a range of foods using a test called an ELISA. Folic acid is an important B vitamin vital for many body functions, and the ELISA technique uses a piece of laboratory equipment called a spectrophotometer to measure the levels of folate in a test sample.

Biomedical Science Anatomical Model

Anatomical model used by Dr Basten

As part of the project, Dr Basten used an iPAD to teach about the human body using the “Visible Body” APP ( He linked to iPAD up to the classroom projector and displayed images of the body to the children to explain the anatomy of the lungs. He also used 3D anatomical models of the body which are used in biomedical science lectures and practicals at De Montfort. The children really enjoyed using the iPAD in the classroom and described the anatomy models as “brilliant” and “amazing”!

Lung Anatomy and Physiology

In another exercise Dr Basten explored how the lungs worked with children and talked about the effects of smoking. To explain how smoke can damage the delicate lung tissue, he used a sponge and treacle pudding to represent healthy and tar-damaged lung respectively! Diseased lung contains mucus and the damaged tissue cannot exchange gases effectively, and this is important because the primary function of the lung is to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.

Healthy and Diseased Lungs

Models representing healthy lung (a sponge) and diseased lung (treacle pudding!)

The teacher also enjoyed seeing how an iPAD could be used in a classroom setting and commented,

“The children really enjoyed these sessions. They have enjoyed the equipment, equipment we don’t have in School. Graham has the knowledge that we as primary school teachers don’t have. Every child has wanted to take part in discussions at the end of the sessions and share their ideas and what they have learnt”.

The children captured their ideas and what they had learnt about biomedical science using the “Scribble Press” APP and the eBook is available to view online:

Crompton View Primary School eBook!