Students from across Ballarat and western Victoria explored the secrets of the immune system this week with some of the leading immunologists in the region.
Professor Stuart Berzins, who leads a research team investigating human immune responses to cancer at the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute, gave the year 12 students an overview of the human immune system and the development of important advances such as vaccination and immune-based therapies for cancer and other diseases.
The biology students then took part in two hands-on lab sessions and heard from practicing immunologists about their research and career pathways.
Using microscopes the students were able to observe and compare the white blood cell response in healthy and diseased tissues in various diseases such as arthritis and cold sores.
The Your Body at War event, held to celebrate International Day of Immunology and raise public awareness of the immune system, was coordinated through Fed Uni's School of Health and Life Sciences, FECRI, and the Gene Technology Access Centre.
"Our research group at FECRI studies specialised cells and molecules that regulate the immune responses against cancer - so it's a pleasure to speak to students about our research and to review the immunology component of the VCE Biology curriculum with them," Prof Berzins said.
Students travelled from East Loddon P-12 College in Dingee, Murrayville Community College in the Wimmera, Phoenix P-12 Community College and Stawell Secondary College.
"The primary goal of the International Day of Immunology is to promote education on the importance of the immune systems during health and disease. Our secondary school workshops capture this objective and inspire the next generation of Immunologists," said National Day of Immunology coordinator Dr Gabriela Khoury.
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