My first day stated off with me getting on the wrong tram, losing $10 and running through Melbourne Uni. The first morning at GTAC began with Chris introducing Maria and I to Lachlan, another student who will be joining us. Then Chris started informing us about the Occupation Health and Safety. Soon after we made our way down to the computer lab and began playing the Immunology Game that Chris helped developed. As we continued playing we notice one particular player that is always on the leader board “frank walker from national tails”. We were determined to beat his record but unfortunately we never succeed. After that we had a chat about what we may write on our blog. Near the end of the day we prepared 300ml of 1 percent agar mixture for tomorrow where we will be swabbing different objects.
Today Maria was too sick to come in so it was just Lachlan and I. We began the day with setting out our agar plates and pouring the mixture so it will harden in the plates. Lachlan and I wandered around GTAC swabbing different objects and transferred it into the plates so the bacteria can grow in the incubator. Which we will examine on Thursday. Around 11 Jacinta walked us to WEHI for a tour, as we were walking through the timeline tunnel the fire alarm was set off. We stood still for 5 mins and the fire truck arrived, it turned out to be a false alarm. The tour continued and we met a scientist who showed us a presentation about his work he hopes to cure type 2 diabetes. He also showed us around his laboratory and how he operates different equipment. When we returned Fran took us into the IT room and we set up some microscopes. Soon we began examining pond water. We saw many different organisms swimming around and I was very excited to see them.
On Wednesday we had the chance to join a year 12 class on the genetics program. We learnt about meiosis, non-disjunction and types of mutations and how they can affect an offspring. We investigated an offspring and conducted some tests and analyses to see whether the offspring is PKU (Phenylketonuria) positive. PKU occurs when the body cannot convert phenylalanine into tyrosine; this disorder affects 1 in every 11,000 new born babies. We also learnt that if a new born baby or offspring is PKU positive there are ways to minimise the disorder.
Thursday began with us collecting samples for the electron microscope. We prepared the samples by sticking it on to a metal base with some double sided tape. After the base is placed into the microscope, the air is then sucked out. When the air has be evacuated the scanning process begins. After 2 mins a 3D image of the sample is shown. We were able to move around and get different views of the many different samples we had. We spent almost the whole day using the electron microscope.
The last day has arrived, it is very sad knowing this exciting journey has come to an end. I have learnt so much and enjoyed every moment of this experience. Although it is the last day we still had work to do, during the morning we continued typing our blogs and by lunch time we were asked to do some filming for GTAC. While filming we got a chance to use the fluorescent microscope and we got to see some amazing cells light up. After we finished filming at the fluorescent microscope we started filming Lachlan and Maria using the electron microscope. Soon after I was filmed using the pipette boy. When the camera crew finished filming, all the staff gathered upstairs for our farewell cake. We got a chance to say thank you and have one last chat with the staff and at around 4 we made our way out. At the exit we said good bye to Lachlan as we will not be seeing him again. It was a great meeting Lachlan and the GTAC staff.