On the 29 January the year 12 IBDP and AP Biology students visited the Biodiscovery Centre at the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical research. The aim of the outing was to practise and perfect skills that they had already learnt about in class.
The activities that the students carried out included modelling the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a wet lab during which the students undertook a real PCR and honed their pipetting skills whilst setting up a gel electrophoresis chamber as well as a tour of the Medical Institute while the gels were running.
While the students were analysing their results they were treated to a visit from Julie Bishop. She had come to the Institute and came to see our Year 12 students. During that time Ms Bishop addressed the students on the importance of science and science teachers and Martyn instructed her through the preparation of the gel electrophoresis plate. After a little more chat about where the students were from and where she had just returned, Ms Bishop left us, but it was a great privilege to be visited by her.
Once we had come down from that experience the students were addressed by Clinton Heal. Clinton was the Young Australian of 2011, he has established a support group and charity organisation for sufferers of melanoma. He, himself was diagnosed with a stage 2 melanoma at the age of 22, at the time he had just graduated from University and was working as a radiographer at Hollywood Hospital. Clinton ensured that the students received and understood the message that they need to be careful in the sun and that no one is immune to melanoma. You may not know it but Bob Marley died in his early 30s from a melanoma on his little toe.
Tina de Klerk