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Pathologists in the making

During the winter term break, two Year 10 students took up the opportunity of work experience in the field of pathology in the Charles Perkins Centre at The University of Sydney. This is what they learned:

Over the course of five days we were inducted into the lab, learnt sterile technique which is used to ensure valid experiments in the lab and safety precautions. We were able to grow cells of our choice after visiting the museum, where we reviewed samples of

  • Stroke (damage to the brain resulting from an occluded blood vessel)
  • Glioblastoma (cancer of the brain)
  • Heart attack
  • Lung cancer.

We then wrote an introduction based on background research of the pathology and highlighted the aims of our investigations. We developed hypotheses to test and then used cell culture to grow our chosen cells.

Once grown, experiments were conducted to assess whether cancer cells can be beaten by the trace element selenium and to mimic conditions in the ischemic heart to determine the impact of low oxygen tension on neuronal cell viability. This taught us that it is so important that the brain maintains a continuous blood supply.

At the end of the experiment, results were obtained by cell counting and imaging on both the control and treated cells. We then used this data to collate an experimental report. During our experience we were also able to explore the campus at Sydney University and were also fortunate enough to meet students who talked to us about their studies.

Overall this experience was extremely insightful into the research and medical profession and was helpful in preparing us for further scientific investigations.

Alex and Linda
Year 10