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University Centre St Helens recently welcomed Sales Managers, James Doherty and Chris Higginbotham, from global company, Wassenburg Medical and Consultant Microbiologist, Dr John Kerry, who unveiled a new Omax compound microscope fitted with a camera, which has been donated to the microbiology department to enhance students’ learning.

The microscope, donated by Wassenburg Medical, is capable of capturing a live image of an examined specimen and projecting that image on to a screen. This will allow students to readily find, view and compare the motion of numerous micro-organisms and undertake more advanced experiment techniques.

Along with dramatically reducing the time it takes for students to examine specimens, the new microscope also creates an opportunity for a wider range of practical exercises to take place to supplement students’ learning.
“One of the new techniques this technology allows for is the hanging drop technique,” explained Microbiology tutor Paul Kowabnik, “which is very challenging for students to view as this technique looks at live bacteria, which are colourless and only viewed through their motion.

“We can produce a library of captured high-quality images for demonstrations and lectures, to help inform the students on what they can expect to see during their experiments.”

Wassenburg Medical is a world leader in delivering endoscope reprocessing products and solutions with headquarters in Amsterdam, Vietnam, Middle East, Australia and more. Their vital work provides infection-free patient treatment and a safe and efficient endoscope reprocessing process at hospitals and clinics across the globe.

During the visit, current microbiology students had the opportunity to present their innovative practical experiments, including a project in which a student swabbed bank notes exchanged in St Helens and explored the microbiological cultures that developed from the samples.

In his own words, Dr John Kerry is “crazy about science,” and has been increasingly involved with promoting scientific study in the Northwest in conjunction with University Centre St Helens. Dr Kerry got involved with University Centre St Helens through his work with St Helens Rotary Club, eventually introducing the Microbiology Award, given to an outstanding Microbiology student.

“There is a global shortage of qualified microbiologists,” said Dr Kerry, “so it is more important than ever to introduce young minds to microbiology.” This, Dr Kerry emphasised, is the key reason for his passionate dedication to promoting the course.

Microbiologists play a key role in the vital work Wassenburg do; donating specialist equipment to microbiology students at University Centre St Helens is one way Wassenburg are contributing to the education and training of the next generation of microbiologists that will shape the future of the industry.

“Wassenburg’s generous donation will transform the way we deliver our courses here at University Centre St Helens,” says Paul Kowabnik, “we cannot thank them enough and we look forward to seeing how our students make use of this fantastic addition to our facilities.”

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