Cancelled World Science Festival Education Programs 

Unfortunately all three workshops have been postponed for the time being due to COVID-19. A new date will be set in the coming weeks.  If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

The World Science Festival is back and 2020 is set to be the biggest year so far offering science-focused hands-on family-friendly activities to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths!

TRI have partnered with the Festival to bring three new Apprentice Programs aimed at High School Students on the 26th-27th March. The programs will take place in a state of the art biomedical teaching laboratory and online learning area on the ground floor of the TRI building where participants will work alongside scientists from TRI's partner institutes.

Program activities are ‘hands on’ and provide opportunities for students to actively engage in higher order thinking and problem solving. Due to high demand two out of the three programs have already sold out, get in soon to ensure you don't miss out! 


Want to Engineer your “Genes”? Did you ever know that doctors can cure diseases by replacing bad genes with good Genes? In genetic engineering, researchers try to supply copies of healthy genes to cells with changed or missing genes so that the “Healthy genes” will take over. Plasmids are used as vehicles to carry these healthy genes into the targeted cells of living beings.

Come to TRI and meet Professor Jyotsna and Scientists to learn about “Genes” and how “Bad Genes” cause diseases in you. Next, you will get hands-on experience in changing/replacing one’s bad genes with healthy genes and insert them in to cells, to build resistance and fight “deadly diseases”.

  • Date: Thursday, 26th March 2020
  • Time: 12:00pm-1:30pm
  • Venue: SPARQ-ed lab, Translational Research Institute 
  • Tickets: $10.00 - available here 


Associate Professor Jyotsna Batra

A/Prof Batra has been continuously involved in scientific research since 2002. The focus of her PhD thesis was on asthma. Her focus on large-scale population and family based studies, led to the identification of some novel features in various key genes associated with asthma. She identified individuals homozygous for CCR5∆32 deletion — the first report from the Indian subcontinent. Her group is the first in the world to show a link between the Inositol signalling pathway and genetic susceptibility to asthma. A/Prof Batra has applied her knowledge on asthma genetics to various hormone dependent cancers. Studying the genetic variation in Kallikrein genes has been a major focus for her current postdoctoral fellowship, which is now being expanded to genome-wide association studies and pathway analysis. In addition to researching the relevant literature and experimental design, she is responsible for in-house DNA quality control, selection, and prioritization of genetic variants, establishment of a genetic database, and optimisation of Massarray sequenom and other polymorphism detection systems and setting up and maintaining the national and international collaborations.


Ever wanted to be a “DNA detective”? Here’s your chance, working alongside molecular geneticist Dr Sandy Richardson and bioinformatician Dr Adam Ewing. Our DNA holds an incredible amount of information that can be used for everything from solving crimes to treating disease. However, it is so small that researchers must use special tools to unlock its secrets. As an Apprentice, you’ll learn about the different approaches used to study DNA sequences. Then, you’ll do a hands-on experiment using enzymatic digestion and gel electrophoresis to analyse and identify a piece of “mystery DNA”.

  • Date: Thursday, 26th March 2020
  • Time: 10:00am-11:30am
  • Venue: SPARQ-ed lab, Translational Research Institute 
  • Tickets: $10.00 - available here 


Dr Sandy Richardson

Dr Sandy Richardson is a Career Track Fellow in the Genome Plasticity and Disease Research Group at Mater Research. She received her PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan. Sandy is interested in how new genetic mutations come about during human development, and the impact of these mutations in areas such as infertility, pregnancy loss, and genetic disease.

Dr Adam Ewing

Dr Adam Ewing is the leader of the Translational Bioinformatics Research Group at Mater Research. He earned his PhD in Genomics and Computational Biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and did his post-doctoral work at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The University of California Santa Cruz. Adam’s research focuses on deciphering the information encoded in patients’ RNA and DNA to understand disease processes improve health outcomes.


Ever wondered about how you could use 3D printing to repair broken bones? Here’s your chance to find out, working inside a PC2 classified laboratory at the Translational Research Institute alongside Dr Mike Doran. He knows all about stem cells, regenerative medicine and cancer models.  As an Apprentice you will learn about bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC) and their use in tissue repair.  You will stain differentiated stem cells, and learn how to use a 3D printer to make scaffolds for bone repair.

  • Date: Friday, 27th March 2020
  • Time: 10:00am-11:30am
  • Venue: SPARQ-ed lab, Translational Research Institute 
  • Tickets: $10.00 - tickets are sold out. Please email [email protected] for waitlist information.  


Associate Professor Mike Doran

A/Prof Mike Doran completed a BSc (Genetics) and BEng (Chemical) at the University of Alberta in Canada, worked as a Project Manager for Exxon (Oil and Gas).  He subsequently relocated to Australia to study Biomedical Engineering, and graduated with a PhD from the University of New South Wales (2006).  In 2010 he established an independent research group at the Queensland University of Technology.  He is currently a lecturer in the QUT School of Biomedical Sciences and a Group Leader at the Translational Research Institute (TRI).  His research team is interested in bone development, and has research projects focused on cartilage repair, bone repair, blood stem cell expansion, and cancer metastasis to the bone. 

Dr Kathryn Futrega

Dr Kathryn Futrega received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from QUT in 2016 and is currently an Early Career Researcher (ECR).  Prior to this, she completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc, Honours) in Biochemistry with a specialisation in Biotechnology from the University of Waterloo, Canada. Her current research interests include cartilage tissue engineering, bone and bone marrow biology, as well as the development of novel cell culture devices, and development of strategies to maximise the therapeutic potential of stem and progenitor cells through ex vivo manipulation.