On Friday 17th April, four VCE Biology students attended the “Your Body at War” program, facilitated by the Gene Technology Access Centre at Federation University. Kiri, Leah, Che and Stephanie travelled to Ballarat to participate in the program, which celebrates the “Day of Immunology”.
Together with about 100 students from three other schools, they had the opportunity to hear from Associate Professor Robyn Slattery (Monash University) about the history of vaccination, current research in immunology and exciting new discoveries about immunotherapy in cancer treatment.
They then donned lab-coats and entered the science laboratories at Federation University, where they learned how to use specialist equipment and techniques, such as the Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). They also had the opportunity to discuss career perspectives in science with staff and Dr Misty Jenkins from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
One of the sponsors of this event is the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Later this year we have three Year 11 students who have been very fortunate to obtain a work experience placement at WEHI in Melbourne. This is an exciting opportunity for them to find about authentic medical research, working with expert scientists in a world-leading facility.
Also in science news, students in Year 10 have the opportunity to attend the Science Experience Ballarat, at Federation University from 29th June to 1st July. This three day, hands-on program is a great introduction to the diverse world of science and it’s connection to a range of interesting careers. Please apply online prior to 8th June. Speak to Mrs Gow for further information.
As part of Education Week next week, we have the opportunity to link up with a special seminar to be held at the Gene Technology Access Centre in Melbourne. Associate Professor Chris Reid from The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health will be presenting “The Plastic Brain” on Wednesday 21st May 2014, 6:30 pm. You can participate at school using our Polycom video-conferencing equipment. Dinner will be provided, if there are enough people interested.
The brain is remarkable. Just how do we remember the colour of our first car, what we had for lunch yesterday or who our Prime Minister is? We don’t have all the answers but we have come a long way. In this lecture I will take you on a journey about how we think brain cells work. We will discuss how brain cells change when we learn, what we can do to learn better and what might be going wrong in disease. I’ll finish with exciting new ways we are looking into brain function that will tell us more about how this fascinating organ works.
This talk is a special event during education week, and teachers and students (as well as the community) are especially encouraged to come along. Chris Read is head of the synaptic plasticity lab at the Florey. Plasticity is the capacity of the brain to change with learning. Can an adult retrain their brain after injury? Can we train our brains to improve our performance? What are the implications for medical research?
I hope you will consider this opportunity to listen to an expert in neuroscience and learn more about this fascinating organ that defines our personality, drives our body and determines our very survival. Please contact Britt Gow by email at brittgow(at)gmail.com or by phoning the school.
Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Michelle Salmon and her colleagues from the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne to the school. Their mission was to install a seismometer, which is an instrument for measuring local, regional and distant earthquakes, up to 6,000 kilometers away. We were one of 42 schools chosen from across Australia to host this equipment, funded by the Education component of the AuScope Australian Geophysical Observing System. The main aims of this project are to:
- Increase community awareness of earthquakes
- Raise awareness of seismology and geoscience as fields of study
- Promote science as a possible career
- Provide tools and resources to assist in teaching physics and earth science in schools
- Provide real-time, research quality data to the seismological community
Teachers will be able to use the data obtained with students and also arrange class presentations from the AuSiS researchers via Skype or Blackboard Collaborate. You can ‘Like’ the Australian Seismometers in Schools page for more information about the program or check out their website at Australian Seismometers in Schools.
Ten Year 7 students are very excited to be participating in the Junior Landcare Conference in Lorne next week. These students have beeen preparing a presentation for six weeks about the effects of global warming. They have created a 40 minute news, quiz and current affairs program, 50 years into the future, when fresh water is scarce, sea levels are rising, temperatures are increasing, biodiversity is at risk and humans are threatened by their own toxic wastes. The multimedia program includes student-produced advertisements and ‘info-mercials’ as well as a “Who wants to be a millionaire?”-style quiz to test how much the audience have learnt.