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Health and Medical Science group 'Doherty' visited the labs of ACT Health, where they spent the morning getting a look at some of the work that happens in a large hospital. Upon arrival, the group talked to Dr Hannah Clark, senior research operations manager of ACT Health, about future possible careers and the research undertaken by the facility.

The group toured the liver research lab, which focuses on fatty liver disease, liver cancer, and the links this has to obesity. Researcher Sharon Pok, who is currently focusing how normal liver cells change into liver cancer cells, discussed her own research project. The participants then had some hands-on practice, pipetting homogenised liver tissue into gel wells, the first step to a long research process. Following Ms Pok was Dr Fahrettin Haczeyni, who led a discussion on the link between high fat/ cholesterol diets and liver cancer, the process of how this happens, and the negative side effects. The participants then had a look at real tissue samples to show the comparison between healthy and unhealthy livers.

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Sharon Pok showing her research

The participants moved on to the Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Unit, where trauma nurses Dr Rebekah Ogilvie and Kate Evans discussed their own experiences, including a positive story of a 19-year-old car crash victim. The group then split up, and Kate explained the trauma emergency room process of receiving patients. An interactive discussion followed, including who needs to be told, who is there when a critical patient arrives, how does the team communicate, and how they save lives.

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Kate discussing how a trauma victim is received

The other group was taken by Dr Ogilvie to the research clinic and discussed orthopaedics, specifically research into knee replacements. After watching footage of how the replacements are attached, they then toured the research lab, which was an excellent example of transdisciplinary work within science. Many engineers, bioengineers, and medical scientists were working together, all aiming to improve the current technology offered to patients. For the budding scientist, the afternoon opened up a whole new world of opportunities to pursue.

To see more of the excellent research conducted at ATC, check out their website:

Meg Stegeman, Communications Intern NYSF 2017 Session C and NYSF Alumna 2014