The Harry Perkins Research Institute exemplifies scientific research, innovation and learning. Attending were South Coast’s year eleven human bio class, accompanied by Mrs Barnabas, on an excursion learning about stem cells.

Throughout the day the class participated in dry-lab activities which involved an informative session about stem cells and their place in research. Following this, the class were given a tour around the facility where students saw things like nitrogen freezer rooms and cell-culturing labs that were being used for cancer research and research of adulthood diseases.

Most students would say practicing lab procedures was the most exciting part of the day. This involves students (in pairs) thawing stem cell cultures, centrifuging the mixture to extract the cells, growing them, staining them, and finally, being able to see live dividing stem cells with a microscope.

As students, our exposure to several academics (PhD students, those with multiple science-based degrees, hired researchers’ etc.) elucidated us to a whole new field of research-based careers in science. With the concepts taught in our human bio course – things like gene expression or stem cell potency – albeit simple, we’ve gained a deeper insight into how gene expression can affect the occurrences of specific cancers, or how stem cell therapy can circumvent issues of infertility.

Undoubtedly, the excursion was an enriching and fruitful day,one where we learnt how scientific breakthroughs and discoveries may have come about. Consequently, to have seen the inner-workings of a research lab has been tremendously beneficial for our futures.