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Where Do I Come From?

Alison Woollard reveals how the transformation from a single cell into a walking, talking, multi-trillion-celled organism we call the human body takes place.

One of the greatest conundrums of life is how we emerge from a single cell into a walking, talking, multi-trillion-celled organism that we call the human body.

In the first of this year's Christmas Lectures, Dr Alison Woollard from the University of Oxford reveals just how this incredible transformation takes place. Using dramatic live experiments she shows how each of those trillions of cells knows what to do, when to do it and how to organise themselves to carry out vital specialist roles in our body.

Following on in the great tradition of Royal Institution Christmas Lectures that date back to 1825 when Michael Faraday lectured in the same theatre, Alison Woollard will continue to inspire wonder in her young audience.

'Life Fantastic' is a theme that recurs across all three lectures as she delights all curious minds with tales of worms, lobsters and naked mole rats.

Live in the lecture theatre, we witness the creation of life, following the 'real-time' embryonic development of a tiny worm on its journey to adulthood. Alison is passionate about what these tiny creatures can tell us about developmental biology. Joining her on this journey is Sir Paul Nurse, who won his Nobel Prize for his work on yeast. Such organisms may seem a long way from us, yet by understanding how cells divide and function, they have helped scientists make significant advances in the treatment of cancers.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 29 Dec 2013 01:50



Role Contributor
Presenter Alison Woollard
Series Producer Johanna Woolford Gibbon
Executive Producer David Dugan