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What a nerve! New ‘neuron pod’ centre being built in Whitechapel aims to let your imagination ‘run riot’

PUBLISHED: 15:33 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 April 2018

This strange construction going up in Whitechapel is what your nerve cell looks like... but you'll soon be able to go inside this one and look around. Picture source: QMUL

This strange construction going up in Whitechapel is what your nerve cell looks like... but you'll soon be able to go inside this one and look around. Picture source: QMUL

QMUL

Work has started on a ‘neuron pod’ science learning centre on Queen Mary University’s Whitechapel campus.

Work starts on a giant neuron pod at Queen Mary University's Whitechapel research campus.  Picture: Glendina ReidWork starts on a giant neuron pod at Queen Mary University's Whitechapel research campus. Picture: Glendina Reid

The free-standing pod is being put together next to the popular Centre of the Cell science education centre which inspires schoolchildren to pursue careers in the sciences and involves the public with medical research.

The centre’s director Prof Fran Balkwill said: “The Neuron Pod will be a space where people can let their imaginations run riot.”

The 30ft high pod is made of 13 steel sections, which have been arriving in Whitechapel one by one through the Dartford Crossing from Kent.

The biggest piece, the ‘axon’, is expected to arrive by police escort next week, with construction finished by the end of the year.

It will have live science shows, workshops, experiments, debates, films and exhibitions. Functions for adults will be staged in the evenings and weekends. Activities will be run for pupils aged 14 to 16 along with sixth form school visits.

More than 155,000 people have taken part in Centre of the Cell activities since it opened in 2009. The embryo-shaped education centre was the first in the world to be located in working biomedical research laboratories, suspended above at Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute. Its design is inspired by images of a nerve cell.

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