Stage 3 Biological Sciences Excursion

Year 12 Biological Sciences students visited the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research on Tuesday 16 June, where they spent their time using the same type of technologies that the medical researchers use in their laboratories. The day was themed around cancer research, in particular melanoma.

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In the first session, the students were involved in an activity whereby they simulated being polymerase chain reactor (PCR) machines, constructing as many strands of DNA as possible within a specified time.

In the second session, students were provided with a small amount of genetic material from patients with melanoma, and normal patients. This material was then amplified in an actual PCR to increase the amount of genetic material available, before separating out different sized fragments of this material by using gel electrophoresis. Finally the gels were examined and the results analysed. In this session, four very able scientists who are all currently in the process of completing their PhDs, or awaiting acceptance of their PhD theses, assisted the John XXIII students.

Students were also given a tour of the facilities at the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research, and given a brief overview of some of the different research projects underway at the Institute.

The afternoon concluded with a presentation by Clinton Heal, from Melanoma WA, who established the foundation after he was diagnosed with Melanoma to raise awareness of this cancer. His brief, but inspiring presentation gave added purpose to the day's activities.

Amanda Webb - Science Teacher

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