Redland Green School

RGS Bristol

Pathologists in the Making

The future crop of top pathologists could come from Redland Green School after students from Year 12 and Year 13 learnt more about the profession during a number of activities and events organised in association with National Pathology Week 2009.

Pathology is the study of disease and over 70% of diagnoses in the NHS involve pathology, so it is a central part of health care, both in hospitals and in GP surgeries. National Pathology Week promotes pathology and increases understanding of the vital role it plays in modern health care.


 Two trips to @Bristol were organised for students from Year 13 to take part in a workshop called 'A Question of Taste'. The students carried out DNA fingerprinting, which forms part of forensic pathology, in order to determine if they possess the bitter taste gene. Jack, Year 13, wrote about the workshop; "Recently, Year 13 biologists were taken on a trip to the labs at @Bristol, to spend the day learning about a process called PCR and gene targeting. We spent the day working with swabs of our own cells trying to replicate the DNA of a specific gene (TAS2R38) that controls your ability to taste bitter flavours. We all had a great time and it's much more fun running experiments on yourself as opposed to something in a Petri dish. I found out that I am a homozygous taster (I have both the dominant alleles for tasting bitter flavours). We used loads of new equipment and learnt about new techniques such as SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) used to isolate the dominant or recessive alleles, and Gel electrophoresis (which is very similar to chromatography) so you can see the different alleles. Overall it was a fascinating trip and a fun day out (and not just because we got free access to the rest of the exploratory)."

A Pathology road show was also organised for Year 12 biology students and a selection of Year 10 students who are gifted & talented in science. Seven pathologists visited Redland Green School and set up a variety of activities including: examining human blood donor samples, using high powered microscopes to analyse diseased tissues, testing blood glucose levels and learning how to diagnose diabetes and learning about the structure of the heart in relation to heart disease.


To find out more about National Pathology Week have a look at the official website: