Students given taste of life in a lab

10 Jul 2013

Research went from books and internet searches to experiments and analysis in cutting-edge labs for a group of high school students last week.

The 15 students from three different schools spent four days at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), based at The University of Queensland.

They worked alongside researchers focusing on areas as varied as stem cell research, vaccine delivery, next-generation molecular disease diagnosis, polymer chemistry and nanocomposite materials.

The students also gained a better understanding of the breadth of AIBN research, with presentations from researchers about work in tissue engineering, vaccine development and biopolymer processing.

Villanova College Year 11 student Jordan Roles said his time in Professor Matt Trau’s lab was not only insightful but interesting and enjoyable.

“I was delighted with the way our supervisor, Dr Darren Korbie, encouraged us to think for ourselves and ask questions,” he said.

“I can confidently and excitably say that I wanted to work in a laboratory environment before I came to AIBN, but the experience certainly concreted my fundamental understanding and career ambitions.”

Queensland Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology student Linh Nguyen said her time in Prof Trau’s lab threw up some unexpected bonuses.

“I thought we’d be told what to do, but we had to think of effective methods of carrying out experiments and come up with solutions. We were not just asked to follow instructions on paper.”

AIBN plans to welcome high school students during a second placement for 2013 during the September/October school holidays.

The placement is part of a close relationship between AIBN and schools around the state, which has also involved presentations at the schools and guided tours of the AIBN building.