International Day of Immunology: inspiring the next generation of scientists

Day of Immunology Discovery Tour

Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) welcomed a group of 53 secondary students from John Monash Science School (JMSS) to join in the worldwide celebrations for the Day of Immunology. Held on 27 April, the event featured a series of talks from Monash BDI PhD students and early career researchers, followed by a tour to several key laboratories where the students participated in hands-on activities designed to showcase the technology supporting the Institute’s research.

Professor Stephen Turner, Head of Microbiology, commenced the day’s activities with a talk both humorous and moving, explaining how the immune system works. Describing many key research areas, he explained how researchers in Melbourne have made huge advancements in immunology.

Professor Turner said the day was an outstanding success, with more than 20 volunteers from the Monash BDI Infection and Immunity Program engaging with the high-school students through talks, tours and experimental demonstrations.

After the tour, the visitors enjoyed a meet and greet session over lunch with Monash BDI researchers. Professor Nicole La Gruta, a group leader in the Infection and Immunity program then spoke about the importance of immunology research and inspired the JMSS students to pursue their dreams and continue their studies in science.

Professor La Gruta, also one of the speakers at the Public Lecture in the Melbourne CBD on Friday 28 April, said the program provides immunology education to the wider community and aims to break down barriers of misinformation surrounding some important issues such as vaccination.

Professor Jamie Rossjohn, Head of the Monash BDI Infection and Immunity Program explained the significance of the Day of Immunology.

“This day helps promote the important work we are doing to uncover key mechanisms that pathogens use to evade our immune systems and how adaptive and innate immunity work together to keep us healthy,” said Professor Rossjohn.

The day was rounded off with a visit to the scientific photography exhibition, Snapshots of the Immune System, at the Monash Immersive Visualisation Facility. The exhibition housed an impressive collection of images from scientists around Australia and New Zealand, showcasing the diversity and complexity of the immune system.

The Day of Immunology is an internationally celebrated event established by the European Federation of Immunological Societies in 2005. The Australasian Society for Immunology held their first Australian event in 2009.