Staff put students through their paces at research skills boot camp

6 August 2014

Students make the most of the X-lab at research skills boot camp

Almost 50 Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSc) students took two days out of their holidays to develop and hone their research skills in the Charles Perkins Centre research and education hub.

Responding to a request from the Medical Sciences Student Society, the BMedSc academics and the Charles Perkins Centre technical education support team developed a special research skills 'boot camp', providing interested students with the opportunity to develop their laboratory skills and learn techniques commonly used in medical science research.

"We approached the academics about the prospect of learning more lab skills. Students want to be able to walk into honours projects with more confidence in their abilities and more research-like experiences," says Hansol Lee, President of the Medical Sciences Student Society and third-year BMedSc student.

Professor of Biomedical Sciences (Education Strategy) and Director of the Charles Perkins Centre Science of Learning Science research node, Professor Philip Poronnik, welcomed the opportunity to make full use of the new facilities, which are specifically designed for teaching pharmacology, physiology, immunology, pharmacy, microbiology, veterinary science, pathology and related subjects. The state-of-the-art infrastructure enables students to experience a real research environment, learning independently using research-quality equipment.

"The opportunity to develop undergraduate research skills in an intensive session and with large groups like this is only possible because of the extensive research capabilities of the X-lab and the dedicated expert Charles Perkins Centre technical staff," said Professor Poronnik.

The initiative also had expert technical support provided by BioRad, giving students the chance to interact with people from outside the University, and a window into careers in industry.

It isn't just the students who were given a chance to learn. As Dr Jane Radford, Charles Perkins Centre Laboratory Services Manager (Education) emphasised, "It's also a great way for our technical team to demonstrate and expand their skills."

The event provided an exciting example of how the research and education hub and its technical support team are enhancing research experiences in undergraduate education.