Sea4Us @ European Researchers’ Night

Hundreds of cities from various countries celebrated the European Researchers’ Night on the 29th of September 2017. Every year the event seeks to bring scientists closer to the general public by creating informal, playful and educational activities .

In the 2017 edition, Sea4Us was present at the National Museum of Natural History and Science, in Príncipe Real, Lisbon. That night, we focused on showing the public our daily lives in the laboratory and also our latest scientific advances through illustrative activities. We had a Quiz on The Sea, the Good Pain and the Bad Pain, samples of sponges, corals and even an extract with analgesic and anticancer properties, and a neuron where people could experience a large-scale patch-clamp!

Let’s visit the activities one by one?


Energy and enthusiasm were the watchwords for that night. Ana Rosa, Beatriz, Clara and Nuno always had “their hands in the dough” so that everything was ready in time for the event.

Sponges, Corals, Extracts!

The first activity was to present to the public the process that our samples suffer from the harvest to the laboratory testing. For this, we had on display two dry sponges, two dry corals (first stage), a powdered sponge (second phase) and a sponge extract (third stage). The public could still try to guess the properties of these animals between anticancer, analgesic, both or none.

Bacteria is our friend

One of our lines of research involves the culture of bacteria that grow in our animals of interest and screening of their compounds. In the European Researchers’ Night, it was possible to observe in the magnifying glass a colony of bacteria grown from one of the sponges that was also on display!

Neurons? Jello!

Yes it’s true. We had a GIANT gelatin neuron that Clara made. How? In a rectangular mold, Clara filled the base with flour and covered it with adherent paper. Then, she pressed the flour so that the outer relief formed a neuron-shaped valley where the gelatin would be poured. In the middle of the cellular body she put a berlinde to make the nucleus and on the rest of the “cell” she added some beads to represent the ionic channels. Let it sit on the fridge and voila! A giant neuron.

On the night of September 29th, everyone could have a taste of the Sea4Us core technique: the patch-clamp. With a straw the public had to try to seal the neuron without leaving a mark, so it would not pierce the “membrane” of the neuron and get good records!


Did you participate? Did you enjoy it? The quiz was titled The Sea, the Good Pain and the Bad Pain and served the purpose of testing the public’s knowledge of its body and the Portuguese sea. For those who could not attend the night, you can still take the quiz if you follow this link.

Photobooth, Photo Bomb, Mad Scientist

Yes. We had a backdrop, official hashtags, lots of props, lab coats, erlenmeyers, mustaches, volumetric flasks with strange solutions in it, fishs, scuba diving fins, diving glasses, lab glasses … And little ties! Lots and lots of ties.

Happy Researchers 🙂

We have said it once and we say it again: energy and enthusiasm were the keywords of the night! During the six hours of the event (and all the other countless hours of preparation), Ana Rosa, Beatriz, Clara and Nuno were tireless, answering all the questions, answering all the curious eyes with a smile in their face and science facts on the tip of their tongues.

Can we count on your presence for the next year?