The Queen and Paul Nurse at the opening of the Crick.

Highlights from the Crick's first three years

It's been three years since the Queen officially opened the Crick in November 2016. To celebrate, we asked some of our colleagues who were there on the day to tell us about one of their highlights of the Crick's first three years. 

Karen Ambrose, Database Team Lead

Karen Ambrose

Karen Ambrose, Database Team Lead

It has to be all the different ways that the Crick has brought people together. My team migrated all the database systems from our previous institutes into the building and it was really rewarding to gradually see everyone come together as one institute. 

We founded PRISM, the Crick’s race equity network, before we were officially in the building but seeing it flourish over the past three years has been amazing. Grassroots, staff-led initiatives like our Bring Your Culture to Work Day have become part of the Crick and I’m really proud of the connections that I’ve seen develop as a result of it. And obviously I have to mention that meeting the Queen was a highlight!

Andy Harrison, Science Educator

The Queen meeting Crick staff at the official opening.

Andy Harrison, Science Educator

My highlight is seeing the ever increasing impact that our education outreach is having on our local schools. As part of the Crick’s education team, one of our key goals is to make science more accessible. We want to make sure that students from a variety of backgrounds feel that science can be for them.

Myself and others in our team are now going into schools and being recognised as the “fun science guys from the Crick” because students recognise us from previous visits, or their own visits to the Crick. Knowing that students are making the connection between ‘fun’, ‘science’ and it being ‘for me’ is fantastic and will hopefully translate into more keen scientists of the future.

Louise Howitt.

Louise Howitt.

Louise Howitt, Events and Conferences Manager

The opening event was of course the largest and most high profile one we have organised – we served more than 5,000 glasses of fizz on the day and ordered 3,000 Crick-coloured macaroons for our staff and guests.

Since then the Crick has continued to be a very busy place for events and symposia. In the last three years we have hosted more than 400 conferences, meetings and events for visitors, and have welcomed (and fed with help from our catering partner Grayson’s!) more than 20,000+ new visitors to the Crick to learn more about our research.

Just as important have been all the internal events that we’ve helped make happen, such as the Crick Annual Awards, Bring Your Culture to Work Day, Autumn Science Meetings and last but not least the Crickmas parties … lots of hard work but also lots of fun!
 

Frank Uhlmann.

Composite image with Crick group leader Frank Uhlmann meeting the Queen, along with the structure of cohesin.

Frank Uhlmann, Group Leader

Our lab is interested in what makes a chromosome look like a chromosome. A key component are cohesins, small protein rings that encircle and thereby connect DNAs within chromosomes to provide structure and strength.

We have been studying cohesin for many years and always wondered what these rings would look like. Moving to the Crick opened a wonderful opportunity to collaborate on this question with Alessandro Costa’s lab, experts in visualising molecular machines.

Together, we were able to picture cohesin on DNA, revealing beautiful aspects of cohesin function that we would have never dreamt of.

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