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Year 11 Biology students spent an afternoon in the teaching laboratories at UniSA where they conducted microbiological experiments to identify different species of bacteria. Under the guidance of UniSA staff, and in a special physical containment level 2 laboratory, the students used a variety of chemical stains to first prepare bacterial samples then observe the samples under high powered microscopes. The activity mirrors the activities of pathologists who are charged with identifying micro-organisms that may be responsible for causing infectious diseases in humans in the clinic or in valuable animals and plants in agriculture. Such knowledge would be used by practitioners to decide upon the best cause of action to treat an infection.   

The hands-on practical aligned with the student’s current studies into infectious diseases, providing them with a link between the classroom and real-world application. It also provided students with an opportunity to work alongside world-class biomedical researchers at UniSA who are addressing clinically important issues, such as antibiotic resistance – a problem that is increasing around the world.     

We would like to extend our thanks to all the staff at UniSA who welcomed our students into the teaching laboratories. We are especially grateful to Prof Rietie Venter who ran the workshop and Mrs Lora Bowes who organised and facilitated the practical.   

Dr Steven Polyak 
Biology Teacher