We are now open with a new LEGO® Dinos experience. The rest of the science centre will remain closed.

Tickets will be released in weekly batches. We currently have timeslots for up to the 6 September available.

Dino Experience ticket prices

Price below includes a 10% voluntary donation


Adult (18+)

Child (aged 5 - 17)

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Local COVID-19 research

Scientists in the North East – some working onsite at Life – are part of a global effort to find treatments, new diagnostic tests and a vaccine for COVID-19. Here, we round-up the latest developments every fortnight.

29 July 2020 - Why the term “super-spreader” can be stigmatising and unhelpful

In an article published in Asian Bioethics Review, Professor Emma Cave from Durham Law School at Durham University discusses why the term 'super-spreader' can be stigmatising and unhelpful.

General use of the term means it is now associated with moral failure and blame and is used as a term of abuse. Fear of condemnation could stop some people from giving up their private information and hamper efforts to test and trace. She suggests instead to talk about 'super-spreading events' rather than an individual 'super-spreader'. Or, better still, to make it clear that it is a scientific term.

Read the press release > 

29 July 2020 – Covid and Me: Take part to help the NHS find the solution

The UK is pioneering development and testing of vaccines and needs to recruit volunteers, especially those from communities who typically are under-served in clinical research, to see if they offer protection.

To assist in this, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) commissioned work with the support of experts across different fields – including Professor Lynn Rochester at Newcastle University – and the Theatre of Debate to produce a series of powerful monologues to explain to the public what taking part in research involves and why we need them to get involved.

Read the press release >

29 July 2020 – NHS staff vaccinations in the North East

As part of the Oxford trial, the COVID-19 research team at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust vaccinated 500 NHS staff in the North East.

The team of scientists at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group has already reported findings from an early trial showing the experimental vaccine induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system and causes few and mild side effects.

29 July 2020 – COVID-19 virus testing service

MDNA Life Sciences, based in The Biosphere at Newcastle Helix – a facility for the commercialisation of life sciences in the North East – is making a COVID-19 virus testing service available to commercial businesses and other organisations with immediate effect.

More information >

17 July 2020 – Impact of lockdown measures differs across the country

New analysis indicates that, while mortality rates peaked in all areas of the UK in April, the lockdown decreased mortality much more effectively in London and the South East than in the North of England. This could have implications when looking at local lockdowns to manage further waves of the virus.

The analysis was conducted by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA), involving Newcastle University, in collaboration with the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) in the North East, North Cumbria and Greater Manchester.

Read the press release>

17 July 2020 – One in three British people might refuse a vaccine

An article for The Conversation co-written by Dr Daniel Jolley, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Northumbria University, discusses why some people might reject vaccines. The article follows a recent YouGov survey that found up to a third of UK respondents would turn down a COVID-19 vaccine if one becomes available. According to epidemiologists, upwards of 70% of the population may need to develop immunity to COVID-19 through vaccinations to stop the virus spreading through the population.

Read the press release >

17 July 2020 – Work begins on UK system for detecting COVID-19 in wastewater

Scientists at Newcastle University are part of a new national programme to perform underpinning research and develop a standardised UK-wide system for detecting COVID-19 in wastewater, reducing the reliance on costly testing of large populations. The scientists are working with partners Northumbrian Water, as well as Defra, environment agencies, public health bodies and other water companies across the country.

Read the press release >

1 July 2020 – Research into impact of social isolation on older people

Alzheimer’s Research UK has announced funding of new research at Newcastle University and the University of Cambridge to explore the impact of coronavirus-induced social isolation measures on older people at increased risk of COVID-19.

Dementia is caused by physical diseases in the brain and recent evidence shows that the condition is linked to a higher risk of severe COVID-19. Loneliness has also been linked with dementia and now the UK’s leading dementia research charity will fund research to explore how isolation policies are perceived and how they have impacted mental health, wellbeing, general health, and the use of social care.

Read the press release >

1 July 2020 – Newcastle company awarded £50k for COVID-19 research

Atelerix – a Newcastle University spin-out company that was founded at Life, and is now based at Newcastle Helix – has been awarded £50,000 by the Government to develop its existing hydrogel technology to extend the shelf life of COVID-19 test kits.

Extending the shelf life of viral swab samples will allow more patient samples to be collected en masse, and permit them to be transported further afield to centralised testing facilities.

Atelerix, founded by Newcastle University's Professor Che Connon and Dr Stephen Swioklo, who are still based at Life, was among only 800 companies chosen out of 8,600 applications to receive a share of the £40 million earmarked by the Government to help boost the UK’s resilience to the long-term impact of coronavirus.

Read the press release >

17 June 2020 – Testing kit given green light

On 8 June, QuantuMDx Group – a Newcastle University spin-out company that was founded at Life – announced its testing kit for the virus that causes COVID-19 has been given the green light for use within the European Union.

QuantuMDx has now registered the test with the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The company has also applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorisation.

Working with British manufacturing partner Biofortuna Limited, QuantuMDx has scaled-up production capability to initially two million tests per week, with the potential to increase this to three million per week.

Read the press release >

17 June 2020 – Eyes found to be an additional entry route for COVID-19

New research led by Newcastle University's Professor Linda Lako, based at Life, suggests the surface of the eye is an additional entry route for the virus that causes COVID-19, using the mucus-rich ocular surface to make its way into the respiratory tract.

The research paper, which is currently in press but available online, has profound implications on the provision of protective eye equipment for healthcare workers looking after COVID-19 patients, and on the development of eye drops that could be used by everyone to help prevent infection.

Read the research paper >

3 June 2020 – New symptoms officially recognised

Loss of smell and taste has officially been recognised in the UK as a symptom of COVID-19, putting the country in line with the rest of Europe, America and the World Health Organisation.

The UK branch of the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR), involving experts at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, has welcomed the change as they have been calling for the complete loss of smell (anosmia) to be recognised as a marker for otherwise asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

This important development means people calling NHS 111 with sudden loss of smell and taste will now be told to self-isolate and are eligible for a COVID-19 test.

Read the press release >​​​​​​​

20 May 2020 – Our health heroes need your help!

Scientists worldwide, including experts at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, have united as the Global Consortium of Chemosensory Researchers (GCCR) to investigate the connection between a loss of smell and the COVID-19 virus, even in the absence of other symptoms.
Anyone who has recently experienced symptoms of respiratory illnesses or smell loss is urged to complete a 10-minute survey.

Read the press release >

6 May 2020 – Sewage monitoring could provide early warning

Life's partner Northumbrian Water is working with Newcastle University researchers, as well as Spanish counterparts, to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 from the non-infectious genetic residues of the virus that remain in wastewater systems when infected people go to the toilet.

Read the press release >

22 April 2020 – The sweet smell of success!

Published on 23 April in the prestigious academic journal Nature Medicine, Newcastle University researchers working onsite at Life have identified two cell types in the nose as likely initial infection points for COVID-19.
The identification of these cells could help to explain the high transmission rate of the virus. The research also reveals potential targets for the development of treatments to reduce transmission.
This was an international effort, including Newcastle University's Professor Linda Lako and her team at Life and bioinformatics officer Dr Rachel Queen.

Read the press release >

22 April 2020  Breath analyser could revolutionise COVID-19 testing

Northumbria University announced earlier this month that it is developing in-house research on a diagnostic breath analyser into a functioning prototype, thanks to funding from its Northern Accelerator programme.
To date, systems that diagnose diseases from breath have been unreliable. However, the new device resolves these issues and its results closely resembles results from lung samples taken surgically - opening up the potential for more accurate screening of COVID-19 in, for example, airports.

Read the press release >

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