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Thursday, December 8th 2016

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Students experience 'A Day in the Life of a Scientist'

In November, Professor Barry Marshall, a West Australian Noble Prize winner, offered two students at Newman College the opportunity to tour and work within his facility ‘The Barry Marshall Institute of Infectious Diseases.’

Jordan Hartley and I were the two chosen students who spent the day at the Institute, attending with Ms Petrides along with a student from Perth Modern College.

The day began with an introductory session with Research Scientist, Albert. He taught us about the bacterium Helicobacter Pylori, it’s prevalence amongst different cultures and popular treatments to combat the gastritis that it may cause, along with the way in which the bacteria’s function can be utilised in the treatment of allergies.

Following this induction, we were invited to undertake some experimental work with a laboratory scientist named Fanny. We sampled our own DNA, and prepared these through processes including pipetting, centrifuging and extraction, before observing the purity and concentration of the final products on a laboratory computer. After lunch, we returned once again to Fanny’s lab as she explained the process of priming mitochondrial DNA and copying this DNA so as to extend the sample and test for certain mutations or diseases.

The day was completed with a visit to Prof Barry Marshall, where Prof Marshall invited us into his office and discussed his interests, work efforts and achievements, along with some insightful advice on how to achieve in the scientific field in the future.

All in all, this day to the Institute was an amazing opportunity to get involved with some laboratory science, to learn about the work of Prof Barry Marshall in more depth and to truly gain an insight into ‘a day at the office’ for scientists working at one of WA’s most impressive facilities.

Jacinta Pavisich, Year 10 student

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