6 May 2022

Day of Immunology 2022

The Monash team at the 2022 Day of Immunology. L-R back row Nirmal
Bhatt, Flavia Gomez, Kathy Hsin, Gemma Hartley, Maria Demaria.
Front row: Katrina Kan, Jesse Mulder and Jurie Tashkandi

By Dr Maria Demaria, Lecturer, Department of Immunology and Pathology, Central Clinical School

The International Day of Immunology is celebrated every year on 29 April. The Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology (ASI) organises a number of events to coincide with this day. In Victoria and Tasmania, our events included a public lecture, research institute discovery tours, science in the pub, and secondary school student workshops and careers sessions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first year since 2019 that many of these events have been held. 

Staff and students from Monash CCS are regularly involved in many aspects of Day of Immunology event organisation and participation.

This year, a virtual discovery tour of the Monash Department of Immunology and Pathology was organised by Dr Zoe Ding. Alexandra Dvorscek, Dr Evelyn Tsantikos, and myself assisted in running a secondary school student workshop at Federation University in Berwick on 28 April. 

In partnership with the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC), secondary school student workshops were also held in Parkville on April 28-29th with students from 8 schools around Melbourne and regional Victoria. On both days, Professor Nicola Harris delivered a virtual keynote presentation to students, providing them with an introduction to immunology and answering their questions. Students then explored aspects of immunology through a microscopy workshop observing lymphoid organs and immune cells in states of health and disease, and an ELISA workshop to demonstrate how antibodies can be used to identify asymptomatic carriers of a bacterial pathogen. 

On 29 April, a number of Monash CCS PhD students and I were scientist mentors for these student workshops, including Nirmal Bhatt, Gemma Hartley, Kathy Hsin, Katrina Kan, Jesse Mulder and Jurie Tashkandi. Dr Anita Barry was instrumental in setting up one of the activities for the school workshops held at both Berwick and GTAC. It is always a joy to mentor students through these workshops, see their excitement as they complete each activity, and answer their insightful questions on immunology and research!

None of these events would be possible without our sponsors and supporters, including Monash CCS, and our organising committee of volunteer scientists from all over Victoria and Tasmania – we thank them for all of their support and look forward to celebrating Day of Immunology again next year! 

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