This week is the start of National Science Week and provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions Australian scientists have made to science and technology. The aim is to encourage, inspire and welcome younger people and students into the world of science and the amazing discoveries that have and can be achieved.

Since its inception in 1997, events across the nation have grown from 200 to 1,000 events, with over one million people joining in. The Week brings together an array of organisations such as schools, universities and research institutions to engage individuals to participate and display their enthusiasm in science and technology.

As one of the largest haematology-focused clinical research institutes in Western Australia, Perth Blood Institute (PBI) takes pride in supporting the education of our future scientists. We partner with a range of university medical schools across Western Australia to provide opportunities for medical research students. This includes:

Medical Science Encounters for school students

PBI offers a program to support students wanting to gain work experience in medical research. Our researchers and scientists focus on major blood disorders relevant to the Western Australian community.

Participants engage in science and translational molecular biology research, utilising cutting-edge technology. This work is directed at understanding the mechanism of blood disorders and the development of novel treatment strategies.

Over the course of the workshop students get their hands dirty with a range of experiments to get a taste of a career in medical science and understand why people bleed. The students engage with PBI and Murdoch University scientists as they explain their area of research and lead students through their own experiments.

The path forward for Murdoch University students

PBI’s medical research scientists Jim Tiao and Grace Gilmore work endlessly on the discovery of new science that addresses the unmet medical needs of patients who suffer with incurable blood conditions. Both are passionate about participating in student research mentorship programs which provide invaluable hands-on training opportunities for biomedical research students, including real work life experiences.

Jim recently shared with us, “I enjoy helping students finish their projects to complete their respective degrees. Knowing that you are contributing to someone’s learning as well as training the next generation of researchers is extremely satisfying.”

Success for our students

Through successful guidance and support from PBI and Murdoch University, the following past students have made significant contributions to medicine and research:

Bryce Entriken completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences, Genetics and Molecular Biology at Murdoch University in 2021. During this time, he was a volunteer Research Assistant at The Western Australian Centre for Thrombosis & Haemostasis, based at Perth Blood Institute.

During the 19-month period Bryce gained valuable experience working in a laboratory environment and performing routine laboratory protocols such as cloning, western blotting for proteins, cell culture and DNA sequencing. His main project was cloning a transcription factor insert from one plasmid to another for use in a Luciferase Assay (which is a convenient method to examine a gene).  Bryce found that the hands-on experience in the laboratory consolidated his lessons, and also enhanced his understanding and curiosity when viewing the textbook explanations in action.

Bryce went on to undertake his honours degree study at the prestigious University of Queensland with the Institute of Molecular Bioscience (IMB) studying the Blood Brain Tumour Barrier in Medulloblastoma and other brain cancers. He is currently at the final stretch of the degree writing up his thesis.

“Studying at Murdoch provided me with a broad interdisciplinary education in the life sciences which has helped me in my current work and research at IMB.” Bryce

Another Murdoch University graduate who has gone on to do amazing things is Jiayin (Munik) Tian. Munik was selected in 2021 to publish her research on investigating the mechanism behind the elevated risk of developing venous thromboembolism among women, in ‘Thrombosis and Haemostasis’.

"I was truly grateful to learn the advanced technology and work with knowledgeable and friendly scientists, clinicians, and administrative team at Murdoch University and PBI during my Honours and PhD study. The wonderful time I spent there always reminds me to be the better person, enjoy the ups and downs in research and life and stay curious about the world.” Munik

Since May 2021, Munik has been working as a research scientist for a biotechnology research company (PYC Therapeutics). The organisation is involved in ‘a new generation of RNA therapeutics to change the lives of patients with severe inherited diseases'.

When Elijah Callis finished his BSc in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in 2019, he knew he wanted to do laboratory research but wasn’t sure where he wanted to go with it, so he reached out to PBI seeking research experience. Elijah was invited to undertake an honours degree in Biomedical Science through PBI at Murdoch University.

“Completing my degree through PBI provided me with valuable laboratory research experience which prepared me for the biomedical procedures I perform now. I was invited to meetings with other PBI researchers and had the opportunity to present my project proposal to the team.” Elijah

After completing his degree, the experience Elijah gained from working with PBI researchers helped him prepare for his current role as an Andrology Technical Officer. Elijah found his honours degree exposed him to research that aims to improve the quality of life of others which solidified his passion for medical research and inspired him to pursue work that benefits others.

“I really enjoyed my honours degree experience, and I am proud that I was able to complete it through reputable research centres in conjunction with Murdoch University.” Elijah

“I am very grateful for my primary supervisors, Dr Jim Tiao and Associate Professor Murray Adams, as they were very hands-on and provided me with helpful feedback and guidance throughout my degree. Jim took the time to teach me new laboratory techniques, many of which I use now in my professional work.” Elijah

Perth Blood Institute and the research team at Murdoch University are delighted to see Bryce, Munik and Elijah continuing their professional development within their respective fields of research. They have strengthened our commitment to future research students and we are honoured to have been a part of their journey and proud of everything they have achieved.