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2018 dates

  • 9-13 April (Commonwealth Games week) - Years 10, 11 and 12 only
  • 2-6 July - Years 10, 11, 12 - Residential regional and remote student Immersion (min age 15 years) - accommodation UQ College
  • 9-13 July UQ special event - Years 10, 11, and 12 - Residential regional student Immersion (min age 15 years) - accommodation UQ College
  • 17-21 September (Last week of term 3) - Years 10, 11, and 12
  • 24-28 September - Years 10, 11, and 12
  • 2-5 October - Years 10, 11, and 12
  • 3-7 December - Years 10 and 11 only
  • 10-14 December - Years 10 and 11 only

9-13 April - Investigation of retrotransposon activity by flow cytometry

Mobile DNA or RNA elements (i.e. transposons/ retrotransposons or “jumping genes”) are believed to be critical drivers of evolution. These are repetitive nucleotide sequences that can cut or copy themselves out of the genome and re-insert elsewhere in the genome. Depending on their re-insertion site, transposons and retrotransposons can disrupt critical genes and inactivate them or alter their expression so as to cause disease. Mobilisation of transposons has been widely studied in many disease states including cancer, and up to 18 human diseases have been identified to be caused by recent insertion events.  

In this immersion program, we will measure the rate of retrotransposon activity in cells using reporter assays based on green and cherry fluorescent proteins and antibiotic resistance. The assays will reveal the role of key enzymes involved in the retrotransposition process. Students will be immersed in conducting modern-day research techniques including cell culture, transfection of mammalian cells with DNA, followed by techniques to measure reporter-gene activity including flow cytometric and microscopy-based analyses.

Learn more about Flow Cytometry.

Flow cytometry


2-6 July - Investigating cell death pathways in the mammary gland using histology and immunofluorescence microscopy

Dr Felicity Davis’s team study the remarkable changes that occur in the breast during puberty, pregnancy, and before and after breastfeeding. Their goals are to investigate cell growth and cell death during these phases, and to use these insights to develop new strategies for controlling the growth and death of breast cancer cells.

In this project, students will visualise mammary epithelial cells during pubertal growth, lactation and during post-lactational regression (involution) using histology and fluorescence microscopy. Students will explore whether specific proteins alter their expression or cellular localisation during these phases of massive cell proliferation and cell death.

Investigating Cell Death Pathways in the Mammary Gland using Histology and Immunofluorescence Microscopy


9-13 July - Investigating signalling pathways that regulate cell proliferation

The cytokine, thrombopoietin (TPO), is the chief regulator of megakaryocyte (MK) and platelet production, acting via its receptor, MPL (or TPO-R). The TPO molecule binds to its receptor on the plasma membrane of these cell types and their precursors to initiate a cascade of signalling events within these cells.

In humans, a lack of functional MPL results in congenital amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia (CAMT), a rare condition in which infants develop a platelet and MK deficiency that if untreated, leads to multi-lineage failure (or a loss of blood cells of multiple types).  While a complete loss of TPO-R leads to thrombocytopenia (or low blood platelet count), other mutations in MPL have been identified in patients with increased platelet numbers. These disorders include familial thrombocytosis (or excessive platelet production) and two of the myeloproliferative neoplasms (or blood cancers), essential thrombocythemia (or overproduction of platelets in bone marrow), and myelofibrosis (a bone marrow disorder).

In this immersion, students will compare the structure, mechanism of activation and downstream signalling of TPO-R in normal physiology with that of disease-causing (hyperactive) mutants with a view to helping researchers to develop effective therapeutics to treat such conditions.

 Investigating signalling pathways that regulate cell proliferation