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School students have a tour of Captain Courageous research.

As part of the Scientists in Schools initiative, a federally-funded program that creates and supports long-term partnerships between scientist and teachers, Woodville High was give then opportunity to establish links with the Basil Hetzel institute.

The institute is part of the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital where research is conducted by the hospital departments and the University disciplines based at the Hospital. Our Stage 2 biology class had the privilege of recently and touring the facilities.

We met Dr Sarah Bray who presented her research into Diamond Black Anaemia (DBA) a rare genetic disease affecting five to seven children per million. DBA is a potentially life-threatening condition that causes severe anaemia and requires ongoing medical care such as blood testing, transfusions and possibly bone marrow transplants. The Year 12 students were able to consolidate their learning in biology through looking at practical application of the theory, such as the theory of process synthesis and observing cell culturing technics in the laboratory.  Sarah Bray also spoke to the students about her work giving the students an insight into what is involved in being a research scientist.

Due to the rarity of DBA, research into the disease does not attract much funding.  An organisation called Captain Courageous has been set up in order to raise funds for this research.  Unlocking the cause of these rare diseases could assist in creating cures for more common diseases such as leukaemia.

The year 12 biology students and teachers at Woodville High School thanked Rebecca Anderson (SiS) from the CSIRO education for introducing Kathryn Hudson the BHI facility manager.  They also thanked  Kathryn for linking them with Sarah who made an informative presentation and extensive tour of the facilities, as her passion for science was evident and has motivated their students to follow a career in science.

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