Youth Membership Scheme

Centre of the Cell’s Youth Membership Scheme (YMS) is open to all young people aged 14 – 19. Through the YMS we offer a range of activities and opportunities for young people interested in a career in science and healthcare. All activities are completely free of charge.

To join the Youth Membership Scheme, complete and return a contact and monitoring form, which can be downloaded here. To find out more about the YMS, see below.

The YMS offers the following opportunities:

Work Experience

We offer a limited number of term-time work placements every year. On work experience you will go behind the scenes of Centre of the Cell, and assist us with school visits. Please note that a work placement with us does not include laboratory experience.


Volunteers help us during the school holidays, when we run events for families. You’ll help our visitors get the most out of their experience, and help our staff with practical tasks.

Advice & Mentoring

We run advice and mentoring sessions for science and health careers throughout the year. These include careers workshops, where you can meet scientists working at Queen Mary University of London and medical or dental students studying at Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry. We also run advice sessions to help you with university applications for medicine, dentistry, and other science-related university courses. Over the Easter holidays we run biology revision sessions to help you prepare for exams.

Summer School

The Centre of the Cell Summer School for up to sixteen Year 12 students takes place during the summer holidays, and involves a week packed full of activities which provide first-hand experience of science and health-related careers, such as laboratory work and clinical skills workshops. The Summer School is the only YMS activity with a competitive application process. To find out more click here.

Dates for the 2020 summer school are to be confirmed.

Big Question Lectures

Twice a year we host a Big Question lecture, a talk aimed at our Youth Members and delivered by a leading scientist on campus at Barts and the London School of Medicine & Dentistry. Members can bring friends and family to hear about ground-breaking research happening here in London, and to ask our speaker about their work. Previous Big Questions have included: “The Great Plague: How have autopsies transformed our understanding of disease?” and “Was World War One good for medicine?”

You can watch some of our previous lectures here.

Youth Forum

The Youth Forum provides unique opportunities for Members to help with Centre of the Cell projects and have a direct influence on our work. Past meetings have included:

  • Working with us to develop upcoming Big Question lectures.
  • Testing new educational content.
  • Judging a social media competition.


Special Projects

Occasionally we are able to offer a small group of Youth Members the opportunity to work on a long-term project. Previous projects included the Sores, Spores & Sickly Bugs project, where Youth Members visited archives and researched the history of medical treatment in East London, and used their research to develop and deliver activities to families. You can find out more about this project here.

Our activities and opportunities are available free of charge, but on a first-come, first-served basis (except for the Summer School), and only to Youth Members. To enrol, please complete and return a contact and monitoring form, which can be downloaded here.
Youth Members are encouraged to demonstrate their interest and motivation by enrolling themselves and maintaining their own bookings for events.

If you have any enquiries about our Youth Membership Scheme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at



Upcoming Events & Opportunities:

Big Question Lecture – Will robots replace surgeons?

Join us for an exciting talk about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare with world-renowned surgeon and innovator, Professor Shafi Ahmed. We will explore how emerging technologies could revolutionise medicine and pave the way for more equitable surgical care across the globe.

Where: Perrin Lecture Theatre, Blizard Institute, 4 Newark Street, London, E1 2AT

When: Tuesday 10th March 6pm – 7:30pm

Format: 45 minute lecture with time for a Q&A, followed by refreshments in the Blizard Institute reception

Tickets for the lecture are free of charge, but booking is essential. Over 14s only. Book your ticket here.

About the speaker:

Professor Shafi Ahmed is a multi-award winning surgeon, teacher, futurist, innovator and entrepreneur. As his day job, Shafi is a consultant cancer surgeon at The Royal London and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals. After hours, he is always looking at ways of translating technology into clinical practice with a mission to provide affordable and accessible surgical training to anyone and everyone.

Shafi made world headline news in 2014 by streaming a live operation using Google Glass to 14,000 students and trainees across 132 countries. In December 2016 he used the Snapchat spectacles to record and teach surgery across the globe, which has had over 100 000 downloads and reached millions of people through social media. In 2018 he performed a live operation on Channel 5 for a programme titled ‘Operation Live’, which was shortlisted for a BAFTA award in 2019.

Shafi’s passion for merging the world of medicine, global education, and virtual reality was the driver behind co-founding Medical Realties, who have developed the world’s first virtual reality training platform. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Silver Scalpel award for the best national trainer in surgery in 2015; British Bangladeshi Person of the Year in 2016; and the Future NHS award in 2018.