Weekend of Science

A day in the cell

The Hubrecht Institute is performing cutting-edge research in the field of developmental and stem cell biology in order to contribute to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of for example cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and genetic diseases.

A Day in the Cell


Meet, feel, see, measure and construct cells at three worldfamous institutes:

The Hubrecht Institute, the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute and the Regenerative Medical Center Utrecht closely work together, that’s why they present this day together at the Hubrecht Institute, Uppsalalaan 8 from 11.00 to 16.00.

There is lots to discover for children and grown-ups at A Day in the Cell.

Ever looked inside a cell? No? Now you can, at the Weekend of Science. Stick your head into a cell enlarged 100.000 times and see what’s inside.

You can also have a look at the real thing. Watching through a microscope, you see cells dividing right under your nose. See them grow, colour them, look at the differences between cells with the same DNA. For a small group of people there will even be a rare opportunity to look through a confocal microscope, the state-of-the-art microscope that enables you to see chromosomes of a living dividing cell: mitosis caught red-handed.
And last but not least: speed-date with scientists and other employees and ask them everything you always wanted to know about their work.


The Hubrecht Institute presents several activities. Get an impression of the length of DNA folded in each cell, try to build a tiny little piece of DNA with lego (not so easy). Make a necklace of nucleosomes (and learn what they are). Isolate your own DNA, colour your own cells and see how they turn out.



There is a striking similarity between organoids and popcorn. Taste some popcorn while looking at these organoids; living 3D mini-organs that grow outside the body. Play the electric organoid-game to learn where they come from. And did you know they also grow organoids from cells of a poison gland of a snake? See it and learn how they can be used for producing medicine.



Looking through a microscope boring? Not if you see a worm and a fish embryo growing under your eyes. And that is not the only exciting thing to see: look at a fluorescent heart and veins, see them work! And try to find the mutant.



It is very difficult to imagine how small a human cell is and how many we have. Yet we can now look on a molecular level what each single cell produces. Every cell in every organism contains the same DNA, yet uses other parts of it. See in the lab how robots isolate single cells, and how they are processed in order to see what they do. Play stem cell twister and build a cell in a petri dish to take home.


What else is there to do?

The Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute lets you taste fungi and smell fungal farts.

You can make your own drawing with yeast.
Learn how our scientists discover new microfungi. Meet the people that gave their name to 16 new fungi: they were the persons that found them participating in a citizen science project.


Admire the amazing beauty of fungi, see them grow in breathtaking movies and make pictures with your own smart phone through a microscope.
Play a ball game to learn about fungal resistance and there is more to discover.. come and see for yourself.

Our body is object of study by Regenerative Medicine Centre Utrecht.

When do you realise how difficult a task is? When you try to do it. Trying to build an artificial kidney makes you realise how incredible complex this organ is. The first artificial kidney, invented by Willem Johan “Pim” Kolff will be on display, next to the latest one. Compare the two of them: Kolffs kidney had the size of a single bed, the newest generation is about as big as a two-liter carton of water and is operated by an app. Both machines will be there: the new one of RMCU and the eldest one, usually only to be seen at Rijksmuseum Boerhave.

Learn about regenerative medicine, see how a 3D-ear and a 3D bone can be printed and feel it.



The Weekend of Science is a national event, organized yearly by science museum NEMO and the ministry of Education, Culture & Science (OCW) on the first weekend of October.

At the Utrecht Science Park, other activities are being organised by Utrecht University.