Last term I attended a week-long research immersion experience at the Diamantina Institute in Brisbane. The program, located within the Translational Research Institute (TRI), was established in collaboration between University of Queensland and the Department of Education. It aims to provide a practical introduction to biomedical research, and we were given access to a PC2 lab during the week.
At the SPARQed program we usually investigate a research topic designed by one of the supervisors – the original topic for the week was Does AURKB inhibition timing affect DNA repair efficiency in S/G2 phase cells?. However, due to sudden complications in the cell line this research topic was unfortunately altered to practical investigations on the role of GFP in Biomedicine.
The week there was divided between working in the labs, analysing results, and listening to lecturers. We introduce the pGLO plasmid to strains of E.coli bacteria, and investigated the effects under different conditions. To this end, we then used a variety of experimental procedures such as completing a series of column chromatography, quantifying protein concentrations, and setting up several gel electrophoreses to analyse the protein and DNA fragments. We were also able to visit the main TRI building, where students and industry researchers worked. Memorable sections of the building included a vast flow cytometry lab filled with analysers of different calibres, and an equally appealing lab solely dedicated to microscopes. Researchers around the building showed us their workspaces and processes, and chatted to us about the different initiatives and projects happening around the building.
The week was a rewarding and eye-opening experience that offered an insight into the procedures and daily work of academics and researchers in the biomedical industry. The SPARQed program has been an educational experience and I recommend taking the time and the opportunity to participate if you are interested in the biomedical industry or are simply curious about laboratory processes.
Year 11 Student