For two weeks this summer, with COVID-safe plans in place, our summer introduction to laboratory vision science at the Save Sight Institute resumed after a two-year lapse.
This year, the Save Sight Institute laboratories welcomed University of Sydney Medical student, Maria Qureshi and University of New South Wales (UNSW) Vision Science and Optometry students, Jonathan Teng, Richard Ly, and Josie Wehbe. The activity ran with guidance from Associate Professor Michele Madigan (UNSW and USYD), and good support from Stanley Wu (Scientia PhD Student, Optometry and Vision Science UNSW).
I learned a lot about both anatomy and functions. It was great to see a physical eye, dissect it and then compare macro vs microscopic views. Over the two weeks, I have grown in both knowledge and confidence!
The summer vision science research experience provides our students with a hands-on basic introduction to human eye cell biology and pathology, using laboratory-based techniques. Over the two weeks, students explored gross and microscopic eye anatomy, got involved in paraffin embedding and sectioning of eye tissues, and histological staining and immunolabelling for different cells and surrounding tissues. Digital imaging, light microscopy and confocal microscopy of eye tissues and cells also featured.
Each student grew normal and tumour eye cells, and went from preparing protein lysates to completing immunoblots, with great outcomes. In between all this, the team enjoyed research discussions, a visit to the wonderful Sydney Hospital Library, meeting other researchers and students for morning teas and finally, a pub lunch.
The two weeks improved the students' knowledge and confidence in lab work. When asked about the activities, students said they found the experience "incredibly valuable," noting they “learned a lot about both anatomy and functions. It was great to see a physical eye, dissect it and then compare macro vs microscopic views."
Associate Professor Madigan extends her thanks to all the group for great enthusiasm, hard work and lively interactions.
If you are interested in a student work experience at the Save Sight Institute, please fill out this expression of interest for information on upcoming opportunities.