Day of Immunology: Garvan inspires students for STEMM

A group of high school students visited the Garvan Institute to hear about what a career in biomedical research has to offer.

Dr Joanne Reed and Dr Angelica Lau

17 May 2019

From cells to career paths – students visiting the Garvan Institute of Medical Research not only became versed in the basics of the immune system, they were inspired to become researchers. Earlier this month, Garvan welcomed 60 high school students to take part in Garvan’s annual Day of Immunology outreach program.

Led by Dr Joanne Reed, who heads the Rheumatology and Autoimmunity Group, and Dr Angelica Lau from the B Cell Biology lab, the event offered insight into what a career in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) entails.

IMG_5875_546x398.jpgThe program kicked off with presentations from some of Garvan’s distinguished researchers who have dedicated much of their lives to studying the immune system. The students then got the chance to try their own hands at working in a research laboratory. Led through six laboratory stations, the budding scientists even got the chance to pipette samples of DNA – which is at the heart of much of Garvan’s world-leading research.

The students were keen to catch a glimpse at some of Garvan’s state-of-the-art technologies and were treated to a close-up look at biology in action – animations created by Garvan’s Visual Science expert, Dr Kate Patterson, which were displayed through virtual reality headsets.

The practical sessions were followed by a Q&A on the ins and outs of a career as a biomedical researcher, led by Dr Joanne Reed, who says she was thrilled by the students’ interest in a potential career in science.

IMG_1549_573x430.jpg“This day was a fantastic opportunity for the students to get a taste of the daily life as a researcher,” she says. “This event really reminded me of when I was younger and my curiosity in science first sparked. Science is often not at the front of mind of students as a potential career path and having the opportunity to nurture that initial interest is just so encouraging.”

Events like the Day of Immunology help support high school science education by providing a unique experience that places students at the heart of biomedical research. The students in attendance were from Barker College, Granville Boys High School, Kincoppal-Rose Bay School, Newcastle Grammar School and St Lukes Grammar School.

We hope to welcome some of the attendees back as researchers in years to come!

For further information about Garvan’s Day of Immunology and other outreach events at Garvan, contact the Foundation: foundation@garvan.org.au.