Peter Mac experts visited Methodist Ladies College last week, speaking to students about their work, Peter Mac, and the future of STEM.

Nine Peter Mac speakers discussed their work and careers, four delivering keynote speeches. They joined colleagues from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), the Doherty Institute, and the Alfred Hospital.

Dr Elizabeth Christie, Group Leader in Peter Mac’s Cancer Evolution and Metastasis Program shared her career path and some of her research findings, explaining “I hoped to inspire young people who have an interest in science and medicine."

"I also believe that you can’t be what you can’t see, and by participating I hoped to help change the stereotype of scientists being male.”

“They were so engaged and asked the scientists some fantastic questions. There were some very keen students who really want to work in STEM, and their enthusiasm was infectious!”

Fundamental researcher and immunologist Associate Professor Paul Beavis (pictured) spoke to students about developing novel therapies that activate the the immune system to treat cancer. 

Professor Grant McArthur, medical oncologist and Head of Peter Mac’s Molecular Oncology Laboratory spoke on the importance of understanding the detailed cellular and molecular mechanisms of human disease, which can lead to the development highly effective therapies with profound impact.

Professor McArthur was enthusiastic about the opportunity, “It is very exciting for a grey haired and ageing Professor to interact with the up-and-coming STEM talent in our schools.”

Peter Mac’s Biomedical Animator Dr Maja Divjak agreed, “I was thrilled to be invited to speak at this wonderful event. It was a great opportunity to showcase my alternative career in science, which visually represents cancer biology and treatments at the molecular level, using stunning 3D animation."

"Students are generally unaware of the alternative careers available to science graduates: just because you studied science doesn’t mean you’ll end up at the bench!”

Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson, Head of the Victorian Centre of Functional Genomics at Peter Mac, spoke on how functional genomics brings the genome to life.

Professor McArthur underlined the importance of community engagement, adding, “Developing the next generation of experts in STEM is critical to continuing to improve the health of our community and delivering better outcomes for cancer patients.”

The event was hosted by PRISM (People Really Into Science @ MLC), aims to promote a love and appreciation for science within the community. PRISM  fosters scientific curiosity in girls who hope to enter the STEM fields.