CVS BHF workshops at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

BHF-funded PhD students hosted a series of free science events at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Every August Edinburgh is home to the world's largest arts festival, hosting thousands of performances across the city. This year, several PhD students from the Centre for Cardiovascular Science (CVS) took part in the British Heart Foundation's first ever Edinburgh Fringe Festival event series, "Work of Heart" held in the BHF Scotland offices on Leith Street. The week-long event series explored the theme 'science meets art,' and CVS researchers used various artistic techniques to showcase some of the BHF-funded research that takes place at CVS.

'Lub Dub': Sense the Beat

Combined image of three photos from BHF ASCUS workshop
Image 1: Finn Bruton explaining ECG to an event guest. Image 2: Stethoscope drawing. Image 3: Manolis Solomonidis with microscope image of mouse heart cell.

On Tuesday 6 August, PhD students Manolis Solomondis and Finn Bruton hosted the event "'Lub Dub': Sense the Beat" in collaboration with University of Edinburgh visual artist Becky Sutton and ASCUS Art & Science, a non-profit that aims to bridge the gap between art and science. Event guests got hands-on with both scientific lab work and creative artwork, as Manolis, Finn, and Becky led them through the process of staining mouse heart cells and creating interpretive drawings based on their heartbeats as listened to through stethoscopes. Event goers interacted with their own hearts, recording and examining their own electrocardiogram signals, and listening to their heartbeats amplified through a speaker.

Zebrafish - the cure for a broken heart?

Combined image of three photos from BHF Fringe event about zebrafish
Image 1: Finn Bruton, Rebecca Wafer, and Aryan Baghbadrani. Image 2: Zebrafish. Image 3: Fluorescent zebrafish images and zebrafish clay models.

On Friday 9 August, CVS PhD students Finn Bruton, Aryan Baghbadrani, and Rebecca Wafer shared their research about the regenerative properties of zebrafish. They led visitors through three mini-workshops about various aspects of the zebrafish. Using light microscopes and lab techniques, event guests identified the different developmental stages of zebrafish embryos and measured the heart rate of zebrafish embryos in different levels of anaesthetic solutions. They also used a more artistic approach to examing zebrafish, creating zebrafish out of modelling clay. This complemented a small art exhibition of fluorescent images of the zebrafish heart and blood vessels prepared by the PhD students.

Both BHF Fringe events offered immersive, hands-on experiences to attendees, exploring cardiovascular research through creative artistic and lab techniques.