A giant nerve cell is set to be constructed at Queen Mary’s Whitechapel campus in an effort to cater for visitor demand and inspire more pupils into the sciences.

The neuron pod at Centre Of The Cell will be a 10m high multifunctional space providing live science shows, hands-on workshops, experiments, debates, films and exhibitions.

It was designed by architect Will Alsop with images of a nerve cell in mind and follows four other pods on the site that were inspired by cells or molecules.

Centre of the Cell’s director Professor Fran Balkwill said: “This unique building will allow Centre Of The Cell to fulfil its potential and offer so much more to our visitors.

A VR capture of the neuron pod

“We will continue to communicate the latest advances in medical research and maximise the number of people engaged with the subject.”

It is hoped the new space will also host adult initiatives in the evenings and weekends, provide activities for school visits, improve disabled access and develop programmes for young people with learning difficulties.

University vice principal Professor Peter McOwan said: “The neuron pod will give us a new focus both for Centre Of The Cell but also for public engagement at Queen Mary more generally and I look forward to seeing the creative uses to which it is put.”

VR image of the campus when the pod is complete

Construction is scheduled to begin by March 2017 with an estimated completion date of December 2017.

A virtual reality tour of the site can be taken online .

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