INESC-ID marked the 24th anniversary of Pavilhão do Conhecimento (the “Knowledge Pavilion”) in style, on 25 July 2023, by organizing an engaging science outreach activity on computational biology titled “Digital Biology.” The event took place at the iconic science museum, known for promoting interactive and educational experiences for visitors of all ages. As part of the celebration, INESC-ID showcased the cutting-edge advancements in the field of computational biology and its implications for the future of healthcare and life sciences.

During the “Digital Biology” activity, INESC-ID researchers Ana Rita Baião, Rui Henriques and João Tiago Aparicio enthusiastically engaged with over 200 members of the public, including children and families, fostering a deeper understanding of how computational methods are revolutionizing the study of biological systems. Visitors were introduced to the fascinating world of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics, where massive datasets are analyzed using powerful algorithms and artificial intelligence. Through an interactive demonstration where mutated DNA strands were fished out of a “gene pool”, participants had the opportunity to experience first-hand the techniques employed in modern-day biological research.

The event not only highlighted the significance of computational biology in advancing scientific knowledge but also emphasized its crucial role in addressing real-world challenges. Researchers from INESC-ID showcased how computational approaches are aiding in drug discovery, personalized medicine, and understanding complex diseases. Visitors were left inspired by the vast potential of “Digital Biology” to improve human health and the environment.

Ana Rita Baião, a PhD student at INESC-ID and the OLISSIPO Horizon 2020 project, expressed her delight at the overwhelming response from the public and emphasized the importance of science outreach activities in bridging the gap between researchers and the community. The 24th-anniversary celebration of Pavilhão do Conhecimento served as a perfect platform for INESC-ID to share its groundbreaking work and inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.

In conclusion, the “Digital Biology” science outreach activity organized by INESC-ID at the 24th-anniversary celebration of Pavilhão do Conhecimento in Lisbon was a resounding success. The event provided an excellent opportunity for the public to delve into the fascinating world of computational biology and witness the incredible impact of this interdisciplinary field on scientific research and healthcare. As INESC-ID continues to push the boundaries of knowledge, events like these play a vital role in fostering a culture of scientific curiosity and collaboration, ultimately shaping a brighter future for science and society.