Under the mentorship of IBioBA researchers, three students from the Pestalozzi school investigated the effects of microplastics and presented their project at an important scientific competition in Germany.

Lara Fodino, Irene Garff Ropero and Federico Fernández Brudny, final year students at the German Pestalozzi School, won second place in the Biology category of the state level of the Jugend Forscht (“Youth Researches”) competition, one of the most important science competitions for secondary school students in Europe.

The project they submitted, which won them first place in the regional competition in Hamburg, was entitled “Microplastics: A problem in our head? and its aim was to examine the potential effects of microplastics on the brain.

The work began to take shape during 2022, guided by Sebastián Giusti from the Molecular Neurobiology group, and Patricio Yankilevich from the Bioinformatics Platform, with whom they conducted experiments in the lab and outlined the project. In order to carry it out, they used different complex methodologies such as immunofluorescence, fluorescence microscopy, programming and statistics.

In addition, thanks to the high standard of the project, they were invited for an internship at the Fraunhofer Institut in Hamburg from 3 to 5 April, where they deepened their neurobiology project with a group of local researchers.

The preparation of student groups by IBioBA researchers to participate in the competitions began in 2016 and since then they have won third place in the Frankfurt regional competition (2017), first place in the Düsseldorf regional competition (2018), second place in the Hessen-Mitte regional competition (2019) and third place in the Gießen regional competition (2020). This is the first time that they have made it through the first regional round and taken second place at the state level.

This activity is carried out within the framework of an agreement signed in 2012 between the German Pestalozzi School and IBioBA, and represents one of the pillars of the Institute, which seeks to complement its basic research work with actions aimed at science communication and the promotion of scientific vocations.