INSIGHTS INTO MEDICAL RESEARCH DAY at the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC) and Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI)
Ms Diane Krosby – Head of Science
On Thursday 14 June, ten students went to a Medical Research day at GTAC and WEHI.
Comments from the students:
We were lucky enough to be chosen to participate in an excursion to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), where we spent the day split into three groups engaging in two workshops in the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC) and a tour of WEHI. It was an incredible experience giving us the opportunity to learn new things about medical research and create new friends from other schools. Our excursion left us with a new outlook on potential future job paths, and a greater appreciation for medical research and the scientists behind it. We all got a lot out of today and would like to thank Ms Krosby for allowing us to be a part of the amazing experience.
The trip to GTAC and WEHI was an interesting and fun experience. Prior to the excursion, I knew little about medical research h and what a career in this area may involve. At GTAC, I was exposed to labs, scientists and concepts that sparked my interest in this career path. The scientists were not only researching well-known illnesses such as cancer, but they were also looking into other things such as the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. I am very appreciative of the opportunity I had to gain access to such a world renowned venue.
The visit to WEHI was a fascinating, eye opening experience that gave an insight into the world of science, medical research and especially the incredibly diverse Toxoplasma gondii. The day consisted of tours of their top class scientific facilities and lab experiments in which we learned about the ins and outs of Toxoplasma including gene modifications in which segments of their genes are manipulated to prevent the development of certain proteins and how to identify whether Toxoplasma is present through antibodies in the blood. Overall an intriguing experience.
I am very interested in infectious diseases and this excursion was very interesting. Scientists there showed me how Toxoplasma worked, invaded and exited the body. The techniques and equipment plus videos left me baffled at just how powerful and intelligent parasites are.
Today’s experience was very beneficial for me and the group, as we were able to broaden our knowledge about scientific research and toxoplasmosis. We were also lucky to have the opportunity of seeing the available pathways in medical research after school, during university and in further working life.
I loved the hands-on experiences with the practicals, and found it really interesting how you can tell if someone is infected with a parasite by testing for antibodies through the enzymes. I also found it interesting how you could mutate the parasite and test to work out which gene affects which part of its functioning. I also found the tour of the WEHI labs really interesting, and I really liked seeing the work they did. I found the experience really interesting and insightful, and it really excited me about bio-medicine which I hadn’t thought about much before.
We visited GTAC and WEHI to gain an insight into medical research and the main topic of the day was to learn about Toxoplasma, which is an infectious agent and has been the focus of our two experiments – one on gel electrophoresis and one on tracking Toxoplasma transmission. We also got to tour around WEHI and were able to participate in a third experiment about cell division. Overall it was a great day where were learnt so much and we would like to thank both the WEHI staff for an enjoyable day and Ms Krosby for taking us!