Why did you choose the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for your Honours year?
My placement in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) in third year was at the institute. After spending a year part-time in the lab at the institute I thought it was a brilliant place to work and I found my UROP supervisors very friendly and inclusive. I gained so much experience by working with them that I could not see myself doing honours anywhere else.
Also, as the institute is affiliated with the University of Melbourne it means I can do my coursework at the institute and don’t need to travel back and forth to the uni, which occurs at some other institutes.
What do you see as the benefits of doing Honours at the institute?
One of the numerous benefits at the institute is the weekly seminars. The institute seminars allow us to hear about the latest research, from leading scientists, covering a wide variety of fields. Being one of the leading institutes in Australia means we have great facilities and can attempt any experiment we feel can develop our research.
Have there been any highlights?
The student retreat, organised by the the Walter and Eliza Student Association (WESA), at the beginning of the year was a social highlight as we were able to meet other students from different divisions in a relaxed environment.
In terms of research, having my data presented at a seminar (to the institute by my supervisor) gave me a real sense of achievement.
What is the subject of your Honours research?
When genes that promote cell survival are over expressed it has been shown to result in cancer. My project is looking at the over expression of these genes and their specific effect in causing autoimmune disease as well as their effect on blood stem cells.
What does a typical working day involve?
The great thing about working in the laboratory is that no two days are the same. The time I arrive differs, usually I'm in the lab by 9am but may be there by 7am, and the time I leave depends on when I have finished the experiments I wanted to do for the day.
Each day involves experiments, as well as scientific reading and discussions with my supervisor about issues and progress.
What did you study at uni?
Bachelor of Biomedical Science, majoring in genetics.