Published: 02 March 2012
UQ Summer Research Program provides wealth of new experiences
Perth university student Adam Hand radically altered the plans for his Christmas holidays, with the destination changing from an orphanage in Nepal to a research laboratory in Brisbane.
Mr Hand crossed the country and spent Christmas away from his family to learn about bioengineering at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at The University of Queensland.
During his break from undergraduate engineering studies at Edith Cowan University, the 23-year-old from Tuart Hill spent 12 weeks at the AIBN as part of a Summer Research Scholarship Program.
Mr Hand spent the time in the lab of AIBN Professor Mark Kendall to learn about the Nanopatch, a needle-free vaccination device with thousands of small projections designed to deliver vaccine to immune cells in the skin.
“In only 12 weeks I believe I have experienced more and learnt more than I could have ever hoped to learn in a classroom,” he said.
“The program has opened my eyes to a completely different and fascinating field that I would have never imagined entering when originally enrolling in engineering.”
Mr Hand spent his time in the lab improving and automating the dry coating procedure of vaccines for use on the Nanopatch.
He admitted to being “completely overwhelmed” when he arrived in Brisbane, moved into a share-house and started his research project at AIBN.
“When I first arrived in Brisbane I was thrust into a new city, a new house and more dauntingly this new experience of bioengineering.
“You may ask: ‘why did you throw away a summer holiday to work at AIBN?'. However, that wasn't the case. Travelling from Perth and experiencing a new life was an adventure in itself and working at the AIBN was an opportunity that I would not have missed.
“My original plan was to work in an orphanage in Nepal for two months during the summer. I wanted to work in the orphanage to live and breathe what it means to live in a less fortunate environment.
“While I was making those plans, I received an email asking if I was interesting in an opportunity to work at the AIBN.
“The experience I gained at AIBN, in my eyes, is priceless. I have enjoyed my work immensely and I hope I can continue to work at the AIBN further down the line.”
The AIBN Summer Scholarship offers high-achieving science and engineering students up to 12 weeks of research skills, access to top facilities, career mentoring and academic credit.
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Media: Erik de Wit (0427 281 466, 3346 3962 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
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