Honours student Kim Hanssen was awarded the best student poster prize at the 24th annual St Vincent’s Campus Research Symposium.

Kim’s poster ‘Novel, highly selective small molecule inhibitors of multidrug resistance protein 1 sensitise tumour cells to chemotherapy’ presented her work on inhibiting the action of  a protein called multidrug resistance protein 1 or MRP1. MRP1 can thwart the activity of chemotherapy drugs by pumping them out of cancer cells, reducing their effectiveness and contributing to multidrug resistance.

The 24th annual St Vincent’s Campus Research Symposium was held at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research earlier this month, with the theme ‘Imagine, Collaborate and Translate’. The symposium brought together researchers and students for a day of talks and discussions. Kim not only presented her poster, she did a rapid-fire 2 minute talk in the ‘Fast Forward Session’ about her work. Her understanding and explanation of her research impressed the judges.

Kim has been doing her UNSW honours year project in our Experimental Therapeutics program with supervisors Dr Jamie Fletcher and Dr Denise Yu. We asked Kim about her experience doing her honours research at Children’s Cancer Institute.

What it’s like being an honours student?

It’s amazing! You get to be a part of a research environment where you learn so much from so many incredible people, and you have a project that you can really delve into and make discoveries in.  There’s nothing quite like being the first to find something out and be really excited to share it with people. Some days can be hard work and long work but it’s absolutely worth it.

Why did you do honours and how different is it to your previous years at uni?

I did honours because I loved both the theory of lectures and the labs of undergrad. Honours combines both of those to give you a taste of what medical research can be like. It’s incredibly different to the rest of your undergrad years because you dedicate your time to one project, rather than splitting yourself across several subjects. And that project becomes yours – you have your own timetable, you get to design experiments and run them (and occasionally trouble-shoot them). You have meetings and seminars, go to conferences, and get to meet so many people from various fields.

What did winning the student poster prize mean for you?

It was really exciting that we received so much interest in our work and our findings. It’s incredible that, even in honours, you have the chance to put your work together and discuss it and gain insights from other people at conferences. Winning the prize was an unexpected but amazing bonus.

Honours students celebrate successful completion of their resarch projects

If you or someone you know is thinking of honours for 2017 at UNSW in a relevant course, we have a selection of great projects in our labs. We also award up to two $5,000 Children’s Cancer Institute Honours scholarships each year to our top-ranking applicants. Applications close 11 November. Find out more about studying honours with us.



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