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A Day in the Life of Testing for Coronavirus

  • Event date:
  • Start time: 10:30 End time: - 11:15
  • Event Location: Online
  • Event Type: Public Event

Experience a day in the life of a virus scientist in this livestreamed event for all the family, hosted by BBC presenter Greg Foot.

Crick scientist Aaron normally works on a type of virus called retroviruses, but has recently been busy helping test local hospital staff for coronavirus. Find out what it’s like to study viruses and what helping out with testing for coronavirus has been like. Bring your curiosity along – you’ll have the opportunity to ask our scientist questions during the event! If you'd prefer to send in your question in advance, use the form below.

This event is suitable for families with primary-school aged children.  

There is no need to book a ticket, but if you would like a reminder email about the event please sign up via Eventbrite. Alternatively, just head to our YouTube or Facebook page at 10.30 (BST - UK time). 

Greg Foot is a Science Journalist on BBC TV & Radio, a successful podcaster, an experienced event & awards host, a public engagement trainer, and Creative Director of 

Aaron Ferron is a Laboratory Research Scientist at the Francis Crick Institute who studies retroviruses, ancient viruses that infected our ancestors millions of years ago and now make up about eight per cent of our DNA. Since lockdown began, Aaron has been helping out with the coronavirus testing pipeline at the Crick – which tests local hospital staff for COVID-19.

Send in your questions

You'll have plenty of chances to send in your questions for Aaron during the event using YouTube or Facebook, but use this form if you'd prefer to send in a question in advance!

About Aaron

Other than science, how do you spend your time? 

So when I’m not working, I try and keep busy by catching up with my friends, reading and sports. I love trying out new sports and competing! I used to play rugby, Taekwondo, fencing and I love skiing. I go every year and it's always an amazing time. During lockdown however I have been staying active by running and doing home workouts. 

How does your research impact the average person?

My research impacts the average person by adding to knowledge of how viruses work and also how our own cells work. One of my projects at the moment is looking at how our cells have the ability to ‘silence’ DNA from viruses. The more we understand how it does this, we could potentially manipulate the cell to silence DNA from other kinds of viruses or we could silence parts of our own DNA that could be harmful.  

What’s the most surprising part of your job that people wouldn’t know about? 

I would probably say how much creativity actually goes into science. Science by nature is governed by logic and data, but planning experiments to generate this data does rely on the scientist’s creativity. Lots of the new techniques that are commonplace in many labs would have been virtually impossible to do in the not too distant past. By being creative and ‘stepping out of the box’ we now have more advanced techniques that can help to assist in more complex investigations.