BrainSTEM Students Step Into Biodiscovery Centre

Our Year 10 BrainSTEM classes are constantly exposed to wonderful professionals, facilities, and experiences. This week they visited the Biodiscovery Centre at the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Technology. This is an educational facility within the Medical Institute designed to educate students in the field of biotechnology and communicate the research being conducted in WA.

PhD students and medical researchers engaged with the students and stepped them through different technologies used in the field of biotechnology. Melanoma cancer was used as the case study for the day’s activities.

The students came away understanding the importance of genetic research in diagnosing and treating genetic conditions as well as a greater appreciation of the research being conducted in Western Australia.

Student reflection:

During our excursion, we learnt about finding mutations using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The mutation we were researching was the skin cancer mutation, melanoma, which is common in Australia. The gene which causes 40% of melanomas in Australia has been identified. We also expanded our knowledge of PCR and how it amplifies gene fragments.

We also did a practical with the use of Gel Electrophoresis which uses an electric current to pull the negatively charged DNA through the gel from the negative electrode to the positive electrode. Overall, the experience in the research centre was very informative and we gained a lot of relevant knowledge for our current biotechnology and genetics topic. Tisya Chowdar

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