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BioDiscovery for Schools

Our curriculum linked Next Gen programs aim to engage, educate and inspire our next generation of medical researchers.

Programs for Years 6 to 12 run Monday to Friday during term time. Students work with real scientists using research-grade equipment and the latest technology in an authentic research laboratory setting.

Content is themed using current research projects at the Perkins and is linked to the Australian Curriculum and WACE courses – giving students a firm understanding of how their lessons relate to real-world scientific discovery. The unique experiences are purposely built around a number of STEM career pathways.

Five hour sessions run from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. Two hours sessions can run in the morning from 10 am to 12 pm or in the afternoon from 1 pm to 3 pm. We can be flexible to suit your group where possible.

Alternately, email the BioDiscovery Education team to discuss what the Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre can offer your classroom.

Researchers to the Rescue!

DISCOVER how technology and engineering have allowed medical scientists to venture into the human body.

Students are immersed into the world of science through a fun investigation centred around problem-solving in a researchers world.

This hands-on experience explores how to use one of the most important scientific tools in life sciences today – the micropipette.

Using their problem-solving skills, LED microscopes, the micropipette and their research information skills, your students will be challenged to solve our mystery.

Year 6/7 Program

Activity duration: 2 hours

Max class size: 40 students

Price per student:

  • $20 per student per session for 20 or more
  • Less than 20 students per session: a flat fee of $400 applies

Curriculum Links
ACSSU 094, ACSHE 098, ACSIS 234, ACSIS 104

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Cell-ebrating Cells!

Students will explore the structure and function of cell organelles in fun puzzle activities. They will also learn how cells work together and cooperate to make multicellular organisms.

Next, they will investigate the size and scale of the microscopic world using our giant rulers.

This will be followed by a lab activity that investigates the story of the first human cells to ever be grown in a laboratory. These cells are known as HeLa cells. Students will gain an understanding of the history of HeLa cells and then go on to stain HeLa cells. Under a microscope, they will examine the differences between these cancerous cells and healthy human cells.

Year 8 Program

Activity duration: 5 hours 

Max class size: 40 students

Price per student:

  • $50 per student per day for 20 or more
  • Less than 20 per day students: a flat fee of $1000 applies

Curriculum Links
Australian Curriculum Year 8
SU 149, 150 SHE 134, 135, 136, 226 SIS 141, 144, 145, 146.

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Diagnosing Diabetes

A great STEM investigation – testing and analysing patient samples.

Your students will step into the shoes of a pathologist to diagnose diabetes. Diabetes is one of the world’s fastest growing chronic disease and a major research focus at the Perkins.

Students will use technology, including glucose meters and research protocols to determine glucose levels in patient samples. They will then conduct a biochemical test to determine the type of diabetes each patient has. This will enable the students to decide what treatment options are available for that patient.

Our Perkins researchers will guide students through the use of different techniques to record, graph and analyse their patient samples as they can design the best treatment plan for each patient.

Year 9 Program

Activity duration: 5 hours

Max class size: 30 students

Price per student:

  • $50 per student per day for 20 or more
  • Less than 20 students per day: a flat fee of $1000 applies

Curriculum Links 
Australian Curriculum Year 9
SU 175, SHE 158,160, SIS 166,165,169,170,171,172

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The 21st Century Genetics Toolkit

DISCOVER how the latest genetic knowledge is helping us move closer to better, more personalised treatments for disease.

The students’ day at the Perkins includes two engaging sessions hosted by research scientists. They will help students discover how tools are used to uncover clues to better understanding disease.

Students will learn about how CRISPR and bioinformatics work and discover how these tools are used to develop better treatments and diagnostic tests for medical conditions. Students will also learn how to use technical tools like a micropipette and mini-centrifuge to extract DNA from cell.

Year 10 Program

Prerequisite knowledge: Studying or completed a genetics topic.

Activity duration: 5 hours

Max class size: 40 students

Price per student:

  • $50 per student per day for 20 or more
  • Less than 20 students per day: a flat fee of $1000 applies

Curriculum Links
Australian Curriculum Year 10
SU 184, SHE 191, 192, 194, 195, 230, SIS 198, 204, 205, 206, 208.

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Spectacular Stem Cells

Students will learn how research procedures and stem cells have provided a better understanding of how to manage disease.

Session 1: Students will be guided by a researcher through the laboratory technique to thaw, prepare and stain stem cells used for investigating liver cancer.

Session 2: This session begins with a valuable insight into the developments and progress in stem cell research. It is followed by a fun, competitive exploration where students engage with tasks aimed at uncovering the secrets of stem cell research surrounding leukaemia. A highlight includes each team being challenged to get the best score in the giant floor game ‘Start as a Stem Cell’.

Year 11 Program

Activity duration: 5 hours

Max class size: 40 students

Price per student:

  • $50 per student per day for 20 or more
  • Less than 20 students per day: a flat fee of $1000 applies

Curriculum links
Human Biology Year 11
Unit 2 Reproduction and Inheritance

SU statements
Stem cells have the ability to divide by mitosis and differentiate into many different tissues, depending on the level of cell potency.

SI statements
Conduct investigations, safely, competently and methodically for the collection of valid and reliable data.

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Searching for Mutations with PCR

Your class will better understand how mutations can be identified by PCR, gel electrophoresis and sequencing.

In the lab, students will explore, how to amplify the potentially mutated BRAF gene of three patients. The identification of this mutation can lead to improved treatment options for people with melanoma.

The lab offers students the opportunity to set up a PCR reaction to amplify the BRAF gene, followed by electrophoresis to visualize the outcome. They will learn first-hand how advances in research directly affect the lives of people diagnosed with melanoma.

Year 12 Human Biology/Biology Program

Activity duration: 5 hours

Max class size: 30 students

Price per student:

  • $50 per student per day for 20 or more
  • Less than 20 students per day: a flat fee of $1000 applies

Curriculum Links
Human Biology Year 12 | Unit 4 Human Variation and Evolution

SU statements: Mutations in genes and chromosomes can result from errors in DNA replication, cell division or from damage caused by mutagens.

SHE statements: Developments in biotechnology have increased access to genetic information of species, populations and individuals, existing now or in the past, the interpretation and use of which may be open to ethical considerations.

SIS statements: Conduct investigations, including the use of virtual or real biotechnology techniques of PCR, gel electrophoresis for DNA sequencing.

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Protein Power @ Perkins

Students spend a session exploring the primary, secondary and tertiary structure of proteins along with the formation of zwitterions and the role of functional groups.

They will then head to the lab for an investigation of antibiotic-resistant proteins. Using their chemical calculation skills and an electrolytic cell, students will carry out protein electrophoresis. Replicating the process research scientists use, students will apply their analytical skills to search the Protein Data Bank for key information about their sample. Using this information, students will then modify the structure of the protein to see if they can transform it into a more effective antibiotic.

Year 12 Chemistry Program

Activity duration: 5 hours

Max class size: 30 students

Price per student:

  • $50 per student per day for 20 or more
  • Less than 20 students per day: a flat fee of $1000

Curriculum Links
Chemistry Year 12 | Unit 4
Organic chemistry and chemical synthesis
SU α-amino acid structure – primary, secondary and tertiary, peptides SHU – Protein Data Bank

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Year 12 Chemistry program

Activity duration: 5 hours
Price per student:

  • $50 per student per day for 20 or more
  • Less than 20 students per day: a flat fee of $1000

Max class size: 30 students

Curriculum Links
Chemistry Year 12 | Unit 4
Organic chemistry and chemical synthesis
SU α-amino acid structure – primary, secondary and tertiary, peptides SHU – Protein Data Bank

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Perkins Profs

This specialised program offers STEM education to capable high school students. It provides them with opportunities to explore the career path of medical research.

We also run Perkins Profs Open classes in Term 2 and 4 which can be attended by students from any school. This option is provided for students whose schools do not organise a school booked Perkins Profs session.

Year 10 - 12

Academy duration: 10 weeks (1 term),

2 hours per week: 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm

Price per student: $350

Max class size: 20 students (min class size 10)

Perkins Profs Academy 1.0

Introduction to Medical Research

Students are guided by Perkins research scientists through the lab techniques and knowledge used to understand medical research. Lab sessions include staining cancer cells, amplifying genes, introduction to bioinformatics, viral outbreak, protein identification and using nanoparticles for drug delivery. The course concludes with a graduation in the final week where family members are invited to celebrate the students’ achievements.

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Perkins Profs Academy 2.0

The genome and beyond

For students that have completed Perkins Profs 1.0. This course is divided into 2 modules:

  1. Bioinformatics: Students will gain an understanding of Computational Biology, managing the data generated by the human genome project, along with insights into the role nd importance of medical journals.
  1. Bioengineering: Students dive into the world of Biomedical engineering to solve medical research problems that will improve outcomes for patients. They will explore the world of Silicon phantoms, biomedical design and turn medical images into 3D parts
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Immersion Program

Are you thinking about a career in the research world?

Enrol in this exciting 3 day experience at Perth’s world class Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. You will work beside scientists, gaining experience in how research is conducted on a day to day basis.

Aspects of the program change but  may include training for PC2 Laboratory operations, techniques of microbiology s and cell culturing techniques, use of fluorescent microscopy, genetic manipulation techniques and tours of  various centres within the grounds of the QE 11 medical complex.

The research experience is for students in years 10-12 and is run in the last week of every school holidays (including summer holidays).

Selection is by application. After reviewing all applications, five participants are selected to attend the next program.  Notifications will be sent at least 4 weeks prior to the Program start date.

Immersion Program

Price per student: $350

To apply:

1. Download application form

2. Send your application email to [email protected]

PLEASE NOTE CANCELLATION POLICY: A refund of the registration fee will only be made if the centre is notified one week prior to the booking.

Teacher Professional Development

Improve your practice inside and outside of the classroom. Address ATSIL Standards competencies through interactive Teacher PD sessions in the Perkins state- of- the -art medical research facility.

Cost: $250 per person (refreshments and lunch included)
Time: 8:30 – 3:30
Date: See below for individual session dates
Venue: The Harry Perkins Institue of Medical Research, 6 Verdun St Nedlands

DNA 101

For Biology & Human Biology Teachers

A back to basics for teachers wanting to improve their knowledge of molecular biology. Topics include DNA structure, DNA extraction (your own and purification, gene expression and mutations. Be expertly guided through this hands-on, informative day by Perkins researchers and members of the BioDiscovery Centre. Sessions will include activities you can take back to school and use with your students.

Date: Friday November 20th, 2020

Bioinformatics 101

For Biology & Human Biology teachers

Learn from the Perkins Bioinformatician, Kirsty Richardson, how gene sequencing, measurement of gene expression and bioinformatic analysis are commonly used in medical research. Discover first hand why and how gene expression is measured using a microarray and how to use on-line bioinformatics tools.

Date: Friday March 27th, 2020

Protein Power

For Chemistry Teachers

A great opportunity for Chemistry Teachers to immerse themselves in our proteins based workshop. Spend an interactive session exploring the primary, secondary and tertiary structure of proteins. This includes understanding the formation of zwitterions and the role of functional groups. Then head to the lab for an investigation of antibiotic resistance using protein electrophoresis techniques. Next, conduct an analysis of protein structure using the same program biochemists use.

Date: Friday May 22nd, 2020

BioEngineering 101

For All Science Teachers

Explore and learn how engineering and computational fluid dynamics meet biology. Spend the day hearing from leading scientists in these exciting new areas. Tour the Perkins Bioengineering lab and use some of the technology and techniques from this field.

Date: TBC

ATSIL Standards for DNA 101 & Protein Power:
2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area
3.4 Select and use resources
6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice
Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers

ATSIL Standards for Bioinformatics 101 & BioEngineering 101:
2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area
2.6 Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students
3.4 Select and use resources
6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice