One is testing the use of spider venom in a clinical context, while another is analysing how saliva swabs might detect throat cancers.

Embedded into university research teams to work on real projects, students from Brisbane Boys’ College (BBC) haven’t been waiting for graduation to begin making advances in biomedical science – they’re advancing knowledge now. 

“This is the only program I am aware of that immerses students in contact with senior researchers for such an extended length of time – up to a whole day per week for as much as a term-and-a-half,” Andrew Landroth, Coordinator of Cognitive Development and Innovation at BBC, shares. 

Since its inception almost ten years ago, the Queensland school’s Student Scientist Partnership Program has been tying together senior assessment and industry placements in the most meaningful of ways. 

“On more than one occasion, our students have their names published as contributors to research papers which are then published in peer-reviewed academic journals.

“Other students’ work has formed the basis of pilot studies, leading to fully fledged research projects which are still ongoing,” Landroth says.   

Once students’ stints have wrapped up, a “showcase event” (aptly titled The Biology Symposium) draws together the young researchers, their supervisors, families and friends to really lift the lid on their findings.  

Landroth says the insights offered during the boys’ ten-minute presentations on the night are powerful and moving.  

“It is always very impressive to see the depth of understanding that students have developed during their participation. 

“It is at that point you often see the future scientist/doctor/engineer emerge for the first time.”

Headmaster Paul Brown says the extension opportunity has often helped to shape students' career paths. 

“On the strength of their participation in the program, several of our past students have chosen a career in scientific research and medicine and many of our students have been complemented on their work ethic and positive approach which augurs well for their employment opportunities after graduation," he tells EducationHQ. 

This year BBC students are involved in the following projects:

  • Perinatal Anoxia (University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research)
  • Characteristics of Presentations of Sporting Injuries to a Hospital Emergency Department (Princess Alexandra Hospital Emergency Department)
  • Spider Venom Uses in Clinical Contexts (Institute for Molecular Biology – University of Queensland)
  • Analysis of Motorcycle and Motor Car Accident Presentations to the Emergency Department (Princess Alexandra Hospital Emergency Department)
  • The Effects of Cognitive Stimulation on Brain Perfusion (Centre for Advanced Imaging – University of Queensland)
  • The Use of Saliva Swabs in Detecting Throat Cancers (Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation – Queensland University of Technology)

By Sarah Duggan 
Published April 24, 2018
Australian Teacher Magazine