Applying advanced microscopy to reveal the structure and function of cells – At GTAC


COVID-19 Notice: This program has been modified to enhance physical distancing and infection control standards for delivery in 2021. In Term 1 2021 only one visiting school can access GTAC on a given day. All resources, equipment and our facilities will receive a major clean between programs. Cleaning of high touch points will be carried out throughout the day.


A mouse fibroblast cell that has its cytoskeleton (green), mitochondria (red) and nucleus (blue) fluorescently stained

A mouse fibroblast cell that has its cytoskeleton (green), mitochondria (red) and nucleus (blue) fluorescently stained

In this program students explore research case studies to generate an understanding of how technologies enhance our knowledge of cell structure and function and of diagnosis and treatment of disease. They utilise a variety of staining techniques to view and capture micrographs of cell structures using compound and fluorescence microscopes.

New imaging technologies will allow students to focus in on cells and capture micrographs of slides they have prepared as they gain skills in using research grade compound and fluorescence microscopes. These imaging technologies reduce the risk of infection, bypassing the need to look directly down the eye lens to focus on specimens. This technology also allows for students to share their findings with GTAC staff who will maintain 1.5m social distancing from students.

New student-friendly fluorescence microscopes will allow students to focus in on the results of their triple-fluorescence stained mammalian cells. This provides a unique and aesthetic insight into the architecture of eukaryotic cells as these stains allow them to view the cell cytoskeleton, mitochondria and DNA.

Assessment Note: This program can serve as context for assessment requirements within VCE Biology Unit 1, Outcome 1.

Level - Unit 1 VCE Biology

Venue - At GTAC in Parkville

Program runs from 9:45am – 1:15pm with a 30 minute break at 11:15am at GTAC. Students must bring their own snacks and water.

Dates - Term 1


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Program designers - Dr Fran Maher, Dr Nicole Webster & Dr Tony Chiovitti