The STEM Hub Canterbury Christ Church University
The STEM Hub


Vertex Learning Lab visit Primary Students for Day of Service

 September 29 2023 | SE England | Views: 173

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Europe) were delighted to meet around 180 Year 5 & 6 (or upper KS2) students from Oxford based schools who participated in Strawberry DNA Extraction workshops on Friday 29th September.

STEM Ambassador Roberts, STEAM Education Senior Manager at Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Europe) along with ten Vertex volunteers visited three local primary schools in the Oxford region to run this amazing STEM activity which extracts DNA from strawberries, allowing students to learn about genomics.  The activity was followed by presentations and culminated in lively and engaging Q&A sessions.

Roberts, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Europe) said: “Giving back really is in Vertex’s DNA and culture. It’s fantastic to work for a company that consistently encourages volunteers to empower local students, especially from under-represented backgrounds, to consider careers in STEM.”

Gemma, Year 5 English and Music Teacher at Ladygrove Park Primary School commented: “The students had a great time, donning the lab coats and safety equipment helped the students feel like real scientists straight away. They were really intrigued that they would be able to see DNA with the naked eye, and when they were successful, found it 'fun but disgusting' and noticed how, 'in the pot’, the DNA strands were spread, but when we lifted them out they moulded into one - it looked like a bogie!'”

Gemma concluded: “We realised the children who had been the most careful about the 'pulping', and therefore the most scientific, extracted a lot more of the DNA. We thank Vertex for giving us a fun, hands on, demonstration using a real scientific technique. It really helped enthuse the children about science.”

If you would like to discover more about Vertex’s commitment to STEAM education, please visit or for information about the STEM Ambassador Programme, please visit

(Image supplied by Ladygrove Park Primary School)

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