Students put mu­tants un­der the mi­cro­scope

The Advocate (Perth) - - LOCAL SPORTS STARS -

EL­LEN­BROOK Chris­tian Col­lege (ECC) students have taken part in re­search into gene mu­ta­tion in melanoma pa­tients.

A group of 16 Year 12 students stud­ied the mu­ta­tions at the Harry Perkins In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search teach­ing lab­o­ra­tory to pro­vide hands-on learn­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence on how they can iden­tify them.

Stu­dent Mon­tana Fal­loon said it was great ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing in a real lab­o­ra­tory work­ing on real re­search.

“It’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing to see the re­search pro­cesses ac­tu­ally in ac­tion with all of the equip­ment rather than try­ing to learn about it on a 2D level through a text­book,” she said.

Fel­low stu­dent Jonathan Walker said he was hop­ing to be­come a doc­tor and re­ally en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It has been re­ally in­ter­est­ing meet­ing all the sci­en­tists who work at Harry Perkins and learn­ing about their jour­neys and how they went from be­ing a stu­dent like me to be­com­ing a sci­en­tist and work­ing in such a great in­sti­tute,” he said.

The students set up a re­ac­tion in the lab­o­ra­tory that en­abled them to an­a­lyse ge­netic ma­te­rial and iden­tify the mu­ta­tion us­ing gene se­quenc­ing.

ECC Year 12 bi­ol­ogy teacher Da­nia Wo­er­mann said it was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence for the students to be ex­posed to.

“The pro­gram pro­vided valu­able in­sights from the sci­en­tist’s per­sonal jour­neys to cov­er­ing a range of con­cepts from the West Aus­tralian cur­ricu­lum,” she said.

In­sti­tute di­rec­tor Pro­fes­sor Peter Leed­man said with one in 30 Aus­tralians di­ag­nosed each year with po­ten­tially fa­tal can­cer that de­vel­ops in the skin’s pig­ment cells, the students’ re­search fo­cus was highly rel­e­vant.

He said the in­sti­tute had de­vel­oped a spe­cialised teach­ing lab­o­ra­tory, the Lot­tery­west BioDis­cov­ery Cen­tre, to give students the op­por­tu­nity to work with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy and us­ing the same equip­ment used by re­searchers at Harry Perkins.

“We of­fer students a unique op­por­tu­nity to not only glimpse into the world of med­i­cal re­search but to work in a func­tional re­search lab­o­ra­tory,” he said.

“They tackle ac­tiv­i­ties that are rel­e­vant to cur­rent re­search and we en­sure their work is linked di­rectly to the school cur­ricu­lum.”

Jonathan Walker and Mon­tana Fal­loon at the lab­o­ra­tory.

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