Budding scientists tour Burnet laboratories

Angus Morgan

06 April, 2016

IMAGE: The boys watch Dr Richards' presentation on malaria transmission

A group of 11-year-old school friends with a keen interest in infectious diseases has enjoyed a tour of Burnet’s laboratories as guests of infectious disease physician and Laboratory Head, Dr Jack Richards.

The boys, grade six students from Preshil School in Melbourne’s east, were invited to find out firsthand about laboratory research after dedicating the proceeds of a fundraising drive to Burnet research into tuberculosis.

“I did a project on tuberculosis last year and became really interested in it, and decided with my friend Angus to start a stall to raise some funds for tuberculosis research,” said one of the boys, Ziggy Grambas.

IMAGE: Dr Jack Richards (second from left) shows Meier, Ziggy, Ollie and Angus around the laboratory

“We raised $136 at the stall selling ‘spiders’, not the … but the fizzy drinks, cookies and marshmallow treats and donated the money. I think someone at Burnet found out what we did and asked mum if we wanted to tour the laboratories and she said, ‘for sure!’”

The boys were treated to a presentation from Dr Richards, and PhD students Vashti Irani, Andrew Guy and Leanna Surrao on malaria – what it is, how it’s transmitted, where it’s found, its effects on humans, who’s most at risk, how it’s treated and the latest research to find a cure and develop a vaccine.

They were also escorted through the laboratories to see the scientists at work and use some of the equipment.

IMAGE: Ziggy and Ollie inspect some mosquito specimens

“Going into the lab was the best part, looking into the microscope, and being able to see the malaria parasites with my own eyes, invading the blood cells,” Angus said.

“It’s pretty amazing really considering it’s one drop of blood on a piece of glass and you have to zoom in 100-times to observe what’s happening. We also saw some computer modelling of proteins and DNA, that was pretty cool!”

Follow these links to find out more about the Richards Laboratory or how to donate to Burnet.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Associate Professor Jack Richards

Group Head, NHMRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Infectious Diseases Physician




[email protected]

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