Inspiring the scientists
of the future

For the eighth year running, a team of dedicated scientists and researchers is taking ground-breaking work to schools around Queensland, engaging with and inspiring the scientists of the future.

The Regional High School Lecture series began in 2014 and now reaches as many as 1600 students each year in remote towns and regional centres from Thursday Island to Roma. Joining a recent trip to Gladstone and Tannum Sands, Associate Professor David Frazer gave students insights into the major role that iron plays in our health.

“It is such an incredible experience to leave the lab and meet the young people who are the future scientists and supporters of medical research in Queensland. They are so bright and so interested in what we’re doing and they ask the most insightful questions,” Associate Professor Frazer said.

The seminars aim to encourage participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Maths) subjects, and to inspire students to consider a career in health science.

The program is the brainchild of the Manager of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Greg Pratt.

“At QIMR Berghofer we are passionate about promoting science, tertiary education, and health science careers to the next generation – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike,” Greg said.

“Regional and remote areas of Queensland have a higher proportion of Indigenous peoples. By visiting these locations we are able to reach a higher number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The program is engaging and the students gain a real understanding of how medical research makes a big difference to people’s lives,” he said.

The team is inspiring the scientists of the future, around the state, recently visiting Gladstone State High School and Tannum Sands State High School in Central Queensland.

Students also heard from Greg Pratt about the latest work being done by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health program. PhD student Luzia Bukali spoke about her research in immunology and malaria, and Gangi Samarawickrama discussed her role in identifying novel treatments for scabies.

The Regional High School Lecture series will be held in Toowoomba and Roma in July. Students in Cairns and Thursday Island will get the opportunity to meet QIMR Berghofer scientists in August. The final stop of the tour is Townsville in October.