EXTRACTING DNA from strawberries, deep brain stimulation demonstrations and getting up close and personal with microscopic cells.

These were just some of the research projects aiming to pioneer future medical breakthroughs that were on display at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Hundreds of people packed into the Tingewick Hall on Thursday to see examples of the groundbreaking biomedical research taking place in the county.

More than 30 stalls were set up to showcase the scale and scope of the medical research projects being carried out by academics at the county's hospitals.

Guests could hear talks, tour clinical facilities, peruse stalls and watch a debate about the opportunities and challenges of sharing patient data during the Celebrating Biomedical Research’ event, organised by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

People could watch a demonstration on how to extract DNA from strawberries, view cells on a giant 55-inch touchscreen computer being used to teach medical students and view blood slides through a microscope to see acute leukaemia.

Neuroscience co-ordinator Dr Nick Irving donned a pair of specially-designed glasses that simulate eye disease then tried to pinpoint the finger of research assistant Emily Hinson.

Visitors could also get a glimpse of the latest technology, including special mobile and tablet apps to monitor health conditions and general fitness.

Dario Salvi, of Oxford University's Institute of Biomedical Engineering, demonstrated a mobile phone-based six-minute walk test.

This is used to establish how far a patient can walk in six minutes and allows clinicians to assess how their breathing has deteriorated.

The new app lets patients do the test in their own time using a a step counter and GPS, rather than having to walk up and down busy and hectic hospital corridors.

There was also a panel-led debate about the opportunities and challenges presented by the sharing of large amounts of patient data and clinician-led talks about new ways to treat cancer and the future of meningitis vaccines.

Doctors and researchers were there to answer questions about their work with the BRC, which has benefited from more than £150m of investment from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) since being founded in 2007.

The BRC is a partnership between the Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to fund and support medical research.

It covers 14 themes of medical research including cancer, diabetes, genetics, infections and vaccines.

BRC director, professor Keith Channon said: "The BRC Open Day clearly demonstrated the enormous scale and scope of the research partnership between the Oxford University Hospitals and the University of Oxford.

"Members of the public, patients and their families were highly interested to see how scientific research, supported by the BRC, has led to new diagnostic tests and treatments that are already impacting on NHS patient care across Oxfordshire, and beyond."