Lucy Hersey is - in her words - “an average third year science student” at Monash University. However, 2013 has been anything but average.
Lucy has spent her final year working with the Rosenthal Group at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), where she has gained invaluable laboratory skills and experience, and developed a thirst for research.
With her supervisors Professor Nadia Rosenthal and Dr Alex Pinto, Lucy has been investigating the role of macrophages in the heart and whether this particular type of white blood cell has a role in encouraging stem cells to form new blood vessels. The research findings will reveal more about how the heart develops, and also how it could be repaired following injury.
"It has been an incredible year for me", Lucy says. "I would never have imagined the things I would get to watch and take part in. It has been such a valuable opportunity and I feel so much better equipped for my future studies and a career in scientific research".
As the end of the year approaches, Lucy remains keen to continue with this interesting research and is exploring doing her Honours with the Rosenthal Group in 2014.
Stem Cells Australia has provided the funding for Lucy’s employment through a program initiated by the Bio21 Cluster known as Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program or UROP. The program funds high achieving students with an interest in medical research to join labs and complete short projects, giving them the opportunity to experience "real life" as scientists.