Students and teachers from 12 Perth schools visited the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research at the QEII Medical Centre to learn more about stem cells and how they may revolutionize modern medicine.
Their day began with the viewing of the award-winning documentary STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS and the opportunity to ask a panel of stem cell scientists - including George Yeoh, Louise Winteringham, Kristyn Bates and Megan Munsie - about stem cells and how they use them in their research.
During lunch, student teams from all schools enjoyed competing against each other in the ‘Start as a Stem Cell’ game – much like a giant game of stem cell twister – where awards were given to the schools who achieved the greatest number and type of mature cells.
A group of Year 10 Christchurch Grammar students who listened to the panel of researchers and played a stem cell game, said that they’d just finished a five week ethics and philosophy course, so the discussion about the ethics of embyonic stem cell research had been very interesting.
“I didn’t know about pluripotent cells before this and I think they’re really cool because they create so many possibilities and allows scientists to overcome ethical issues,” said 14 year old Hector Morlet.
The final session of the day involved scientists from the Harry Perkins Institute joining the panelists to chat informally to student about their career and journey in science. Students had a chance to ask questions of the scientists in a more relaxed and personal science café style setting.
Pauline Charman, Community Education Manager at the Perkin’s Institute commented, “The whole idea is to educate and inspire these students and Stem Cell day certainly did that, with students asking our researchers some great questions,” she said.
Feedback from the students and teachers was overwhelmingly positive and plans are being made for a similar event to be hosted by the Perkins Institute with support from Stem Cells Australia later this year.
The organisers would like to thanks EuroStemCell and the Scottish Documentary Institute for their support for this event.