Garvan Institute of Medical Research Spring Lab Tour

Garvan Institute of Medical Research Spring Lab Tour

This month saw Cure Cancer Australia and their Principal Supporter, the Can Too Foundation, come together to host the Spring Lab Tour 2017 at Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

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One of our most popular tours to date, this month’s Spring Lab Tour saw a group of over forty Cure Cancer Australia and Can Too supporters, donors, athletes and staff come together to learn more about the crucial cancer research being carried out at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

Guests gathered in the auditorium for welcome presentations from Cure Cancer Australia CEO Floyd Larsen and Can Too CEO Susannah Miall. Former grant recipient Dr. Liz Caldon then delivered a fascinating insight into her work at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre (part of the Garvan), and explained how her initial funding from Cure Cancer Australia and Can Too has helped her to progress her career.

Liz leads the Replication and Genome Stability Group at the centre, made up of four scientists who are investigating the lifecycle of breast cancer calls, as well as how genomic instability in breast cancer can contribute to drug resistance. First funded by Cure Cancer Australia in 2011, this initial grant lead to a number of further grants, and Liz now collaborates with scientists all over Australia to continuously develop and advance her work.

As a young, female scientist, Liz highlighted how important Cure Cancer Australia’s early funding was, not only in enabling her to investigate her ideas, but also for giving her the flexibility to balance family life with the progression of her career. ‘It’s through this support that researchers are able to develop their careers and encourage other researchers to do the same,’ said Liz. 'To have people believe in you and fund you can make all the difference. This grant started my career as a research scientist.'

The afternoon continued with a tour of the state-of-the-art centre (featuring an impressive helix staircase, designed to resemble a DNA sequence), which saw the group split to encompass tours on Sequencing, Microscopy, Tissue-Culture Labs and the brand-new Garvan-Weizmann centre.

The incredibly impressive Garvan-Weizmann centre opened just a few weeks ago, and is the only site in the southern hemisphere where cutting-edge technologies in cell handling, genomics and informatics come together for the use of talented experts to drive cellular genomics forward. Despite only having opened in August this year, it is already enabling ambitious experimental projects that few other centres can support. Guests who toured the centre were able to watch video footage of cancer cells forming on huge overhead screens – a truly remarkable experience that provided a real insight into the way the technology is being used.

The tour concluded with afternoon tea refreshments, where guests were able to interact with one another and share their experiences and learnings. Feedback from the tour has been extremely positive:

'It was really a great afternoon. We toured the pancreatic research area - the young scientist that took us through was  fantastic and able to explain in easy-to-understand terms what their focus was in trying to combat this disease. It gives you confidence that one day we'll beat it.'

Eric and Marie Bynon

A huge thank you to all those who took the time to participate. If you'd like to receive details about upcoming lab tours in Sydney and Brisbane, contact michelle@curecancer.com.au!

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