Brilliant Futures investigate Cell Biology at the Translational Research Institute

Our second year Brilliant Futures students are now in their investigative year of the Program which sees them introduced to a range of experiences focused on developing skills in scientific inquiry. Students recently ventured to SPARQ-ed (Students Performing Advanced Research QLD) based at the Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, to carry out an authentic scientific investigation in a real research laboratory.

Vienna and Mateo share their reflections on the experience:

“My name is Vienna and recently I had the opportunity to experience a cell biology workshop through the Brilliant Futures Program. We watched an entertaining video on how to extract DNA from bacteria and were introduced to centrifuging and pipetting. Learning these two important biology skills, we worked in a collaborative, cautious and supervised environment. We were grouped into pairs, allowing us to cooperate and work getting to know each other better. The first aspect of the experiment we did was pipetting: the act of transporting certain amounts of liquids or volumes. Secondly, we were familiarized with centrifuging: the state of rotating an object perpendicular to its force. In our lab, we used sample tubes in the centrifuge to allow dense particles to settle to the bottom and low-density particles to settle to the top. Through these two processes, we carefully extracted DNA from bacteria.
Vienna – Brilliant Futures Investigative Year student

“On Saturday 17th March, as part of the Queensland Academies Brilliant Futures program, we were given the opportunity to participate in a PC2 laboratory workshop at SPARQ-ed regarding Cellular Biology.

At the workshop, we tested our skills with the micropipettes and then we generated DNA using bacteria with a technique called Alkaline Lysis Mini-Plasmid preparation. We executed this through a process of mixing solutions and using a centrifuge to separate the solids and liquids. We mainly learnt by listening to the explanation of the process and then applying our new knowledge in a laboratory experiment. We also learnt how to follow this procedure in the right order to avoid making mistakes because we did not stick to the technique properly.

I particularly enjoyed adding solutions using a micropipette because they were accurate and I had never used such precise instruments which measured micro-litres before”
Mateo – Brilliant Futures Investigative Year student

Mrs Vanessa Rebgetz
Deputy Principal/Brilliant Futures Coordinator