Lara's learning experience

Burnet Institute

16 December, 2016

HIV scientist Dr Jacqueline Flynn and work experience student Lara Davie

Sixteen-year-old Lara Davie is spending her last week of school for 2016 in a Burnet laboratory learning about HIV, immunology and possible future science pathways.

The Melbourne Girls College year 10 student toured Burnet on the annual Day of Immunology in April when PhD students spoke about their research. She liked it so much she wanted to come back.

“It was really, really cool - I had never been in a lab before. I liked hearing what those young scientists were working on and their discoveries,” Lara said.

While she’s not sure yet what she wants to do when she leaves school, she is already studying VCE biology and knows her career will be scientific or medical.

“I’d like something that gives hands-on engagement with people and I like working in a team. Here it seems like scientists have a great balance of desk work and lab work and working with other people,” she said.

Burnet postdoctoral scientist Dr Jacqueline Flynn has spent the week with Lara in the Gorry Laboratory where HIV research is undertaken.

“We’re going to do some molecular cloning and run some gels. We are also going to isolate some CD4+T cells, culture them and identify different immune cell populations using flow cytometry,” Dr Flynn said.

“This is my first opportunity to take a work experience student and I jumped at it. It does take time but I enjoy teaching.”

Lara said she had always loved science and was aware of the push to get more girls into the field.

“I know that it has been quite a struggle for women in the past to be recognised as professional scientists at the same level as men, but I think in this day and age there are so many women in science and it’s great to see,” she said.

“It makes me optimistic for the future.”


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