Scientists in Schools

Biotech goes the distance

  • Steve Langton, Kingaroy State High School, Queensland
  • Kerry Manton, Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology

Long distance partnerships can be difficult to maintain but Kerry Manton and Steve Langton are making it work.

Kerry and Steve first met when Steve came to Brisbane to visit Kerry’s lab at the Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) and attended an event run by the Queensland University of Technology for the university’s participating scientists and their teacher partners. This event provided an opportunity to hear from other participants and share ideas.

Kerry then made the three-hour drive to visit the school to share her experiences as a scientist, giving three career talks in one day. The year 11 and 12 students enjoyed having a real scientist in their classroom.

Later in the year, two year twelve biology students travelled to Brisbane for work experience in Kerry’s lab. The students worked at IHBI for one week, utilizing techniques including immunofluorescence, real-time PCR and tissue culture.

Scientists showing students some science equipment

In August 2008 a National Science Week grant paved the way for ‘Biotech in the Bush’ to be held in Kingaroy.

Several of Kerry’s colleagues came along to help out with the activities and gave careers talks for local high school students, plus over 200 community members attended the public event in a local pub.

Attendees could extract and bottle their own DNA and take it home in a necklace - fashion meets science! They could also perform bacterial transformation. The community then enjoyed a forum on current scientific issues which was hosted by Bernie Hobbs from the ABC.

Kerry and Steve plan to continue their partnership and would like to see students completing a research experience at IHBI every year.

Scientist showing students some science equipment