The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


31 Aug 2018

A day in the life of a Doherty Institute student: Hannah Kelly

In the lead up to the Doherty Institute Student Open Day on Monday, 3 September, we asked current students to provide us with an insight into what studying at the Doherty Institute is like. Here, PhD student Hannah Kelly shares her typical day. 

My day as a PhD student at the Doherty Institute begins with blood samples. My experiment involves measuring the interaction of nanoparticles with immune cells found in blood. I place my samples into an incubator for an hour. This leaves enough time to grab an excellent flat white from Super Eight over the road and catch up on emails. I check the Monday Minutes, the weekly internal newsletter, and note there is an interesting conference coming up, I should submit an abstract.

Time to slip, slop, slap on a lab coat, gloves and safety glasses. I wash the blood samples by spinning them in a centrifuge and add fluorescent antibodies. This will allow me to identify different cell types.

Another hour of incubation time. I join most of my lab having lunch together in the tearoom and we catch up on our weekend goings-on.

The timer goes off and I take my samples to the flow cytometer. This expensive piece of kit will tell me if my experiment worked (or if I need to repeat it all again tomorrow). Huzzah, the experiment worked…but the results are not as expected. I schedule a meeting with my supervisor to discuss the data and write a to-do list for the rest of the week.

An article relevant to my research piques my interest and I walk home with ideas for future experiments running through my head.