Dr Laurence Cantrill
Laurence Cantrill completed his undergraduate science degree with a focus on genetics and plant biology. “Science at Sydney was fascinating. You’re learning about how the world works, and as you learn more you start to become more engaged,” enthuses Laurence. “The satisfaction that comes from doing something you enjoy can keep you happy and engaged for life. Science can do that.”
Laurence also met many enthusiastic scientists during his degree. “The lecturers are often world leaders in their field. They really love what they do, and they pass their drive and passion on to their students.”
Laurence went on to complete a PhD in biology and post-doctoral work at the University of Sydney and now works as the head microscopist at the Kids Research Institute, Westmead. He’s excited about working with the institute’s new Correlative Light and Electron Microscope (CLEM) suite, installed in 2011. "These new microscopes will help bridge the gap between light and electron microscopy, so that researchers can make medical observations in greater detail and clarity than previously possible," explains Laurence. By connecting both light and electron microscopes, the CLEM Suite will allow direct workflow to occur between the two microscope types for the first time. “It’s a huge achievement for the centre, because it allows researchers to take digital images of the material without slicing it, meaning more intact samples and the ability to look at living samples. We now have fantastic opportunities to learn more about many disease processes including cancer, bone development, neurological and viral diseases,” he says.
Laurence firmly believes that science is a great general degree with wide ranging applications across medical fields and industries. “My degree gave me many options in terms of career paths. I started off doing plant-based science, but the skills I acquired along the way allowed me to move into medical imaging and research. Science teaches you how to think critically, to analyse problems, to organise your time, to run experiments. These skills that can be valuable in any field,” he says.
Laurence urges future students to embrace the importance of science in our lives. “Everything we do, everything we use every day has arisen from science. It’s a fundamental part of our civilisation,” he says.