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Tuesday, December 16th 2014

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Year 8 Lumen Excursion - Harry Perkins Biomedical Research Institute

Year 8 Lumen Excursion - Harry Perkins Biomedical Research Institute

Last week ten Newman students were selected to experience a once in a lifetime two day excursion based on philosophy, ethics, and genetic science. Students from JTC and Corpus Christi also attended.

The first day took place at John XXIII College, where Dr Annette Pedersen guided us through ethical problems, and different ways to approach them. In the morning, we discussed the concept of ethics, and three ways to look at ethical issues - Catholic Moral analysis, Kantian analysis, and Utilitarian analysis. The main question we discussed was, “what is ethics?” After recess, we moved to one of the science rooms to revise over the subject area of biology, and learn to use some equipment, in order to help us with the excursion on the second day. This session was lead by Dr Amanda Webb. After lunch, we were put into groups of five, where we were given a problem in which we had to think of a way to approach it, what the solution should be, and what is ethically and morally correct. We then went on to present our small group discussions.
Our second day of activities took place at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. We were introduced to what the day had in store for us by the manager of the facility, Pauline. She told us the history of the institute and the activities we would be doing during the day. We were then separated into two groups to complete the days activities. My group was given the task of researching a researcher at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. We then played a game where you start as a stem cell and transition into a mature cell. After this we had the opportunity to watch some scientists examine DNA.
We later moved into one of the labs where we had the chance to examine some real cancer cells. Using research grade micropipettes, under the direction of researchers from the centre, we stained dishes of cancer cells using a special dye. We then put our dishes under an electronic microscope which had a camera hooked up to a projector, showing us the cancer cells up close which was incredible to see.
Overall, this experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity in which I feel very lucky I could be a part of. All the students involved would like to thank the teachers from John XXIII College and Mr Richards for organising and supervising the excursion.
David Dal Busco, Year 8
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