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If you’ve been on to Facebook recently then chances are you’ve seen the latest brand awareness video from Children’s Medical Research Institute, highlighting the emotional journey experienced when the birth of your child does not go as expected.

The video has received such an overwhelming response with more than 3 million views worldwide we have been overwhelmed with the response & are thrilled that we can continues to spread our message of the importance of medical research & the impact we can have in curing childhood diseases.

BUT have you ever wondered what it’s like to take one step back & to get an insight in to one of our many research laboratories & to find out where the journey really begins?

We’ve gone being the scenes in our CMRI Cell Cycle Unit to speak with Dadar Pirshahid, PhD Student, to get an insight into day to-day life as a PhD student in the lab, what makes him tick & an insight in to how different his future would have been had he not pursued a career in science…

 

1. What or who inspired you to become a researcher?

I enjoy learning and I love solving puzzles. In day to day life you can learn everything there is to be known about a particular field and make inferences about what might logically follow in the realm of unexplored knowledge. I wanted to become a researcher because it meant that I didn’t have to be contented with making inferences, I could actually test if my inferences are correct and ultimately push the borders of knowledge and understanding.

2. Describe your typical day?

My typical day revolves around my model of study. I conduct all my experiments on human cancer cells grown in a dish. I have to care for these cells on a daily basis by ensuring that they have access to all the necessary nutrients they need to survive and proliferate. On particular days I will make alterations to the genetics of these human cancer cells and then look at them under a high powered microscope to see if their ‘cancer-like-behaviour’ is affected. I spend a lot of time on microscopes observing these cancer cells dividing and I spend even more time on computers for analysis of the images I take on the microscope. Most days I will be reading scientific articles published by other scientists from around the world working on similar projects so that I may interpret how the genetic alterations I study might affect cancer cells and what this means for developing treatments for cancer.

3. What’s the best & worst thing about life in the lab?

The best thing about life in the lab is the freedom you have with your time. So long as you are productive there is not much pressure to work within particular hours and so you can work at hours that suit your lifestyle. The worst thing about life in the lab is the cost of this freedom. We may not need to work ‘9-5’ hours BUT we do work more hours than a typical full time job would demand without any kind of overtime remuneration. The productivity expectations placed on us often mean that we have to work long hours during the week and even on the weekend.

4. What’s the most interesting / surprising thing you have discovered as a researcher?

The most interesting thing I have discovered as a researcher is that a single amino acid mutation in the protein Sorting Nexin 9 can have dramatic effects on the functionality of the protein and has disastrous repercussions for the survival of cancer cells. The purpose of my body of research is to determine why and how this is.

5. What are your hobbies when you’re not in the lab?

I thoroughly enjoy board games and a stiff drink at every opportunity.

6. If you hadn’t become a researcher, what would you like to be doing?

If I hadn’t become a researcher I would have become a lawyer. Most assuredly I would have been less happy but I would have copious money to salve my sadness.

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One of the most instantly recognisable fundraising events, Jeans for Genes Day has long become a bit of an institution for scores of families across Australia.
From ‘denim day’ at schools, bakes sales, sponsored shaves and fun-runs, to the committed bucket shakers you’ll see lining our train stations – at some point you will have come across this highly regarded event.

This year, we’re very fortunate to have one of those Australians sign up to be our 2015 Jeans for Genes Ambassador;

Model, actress & new mum Jodi Anasta!

Jeans for Genes ambassador,  Model and Actress Jodi Anasta

Jeans for Genes ambassador, Model and Actress Jodi Anasta

The former Home & Away actress and Dancing with the Stars contestant Jodi & her husband, Sydney Roosters Captain, Braith Anasta, welcomed their first child, daughter Aleeia, to the world in March 2014.

Being able to put her name forward for any cause Jodi explains why she has chosen to become ‘Chief Genie’ for Jean for Genes 2015;

It was a no brainer

It’s definitely something that resonates with me very strongly being a first time mum

All day, Jodi has been showing her support for Jeans for Genes with special appearances on…

 

The Kyle & JackieO show

Kyle and Jackie O - Jodi Anasta

Fitzy & Wippa

Fitzy and Wippa - Jodi

 As well as a spot on the Channel 7 Morning Show which you can view here

Larry, Jodi and Kylie - The Morning Show

This year Jeans for Genes celebrates 22 years of raising funds for Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI).

What began with the simple idea of wearing jeans and making a gold coin donation to help find cures for sick children nationwide, developed into a fundraising effort led by legions of volunteers known as ‘Genies’.

And Jodi is encouraging all Aussies to join the team and sign on as Genies in the lead up to Jeans for Genes Day on Friday 7th August 2015.

You can get involved in all sorts of ways from wearing denim (why not try ‘triple denim’!) on the 7th August, buying merchandise, volunteering time or holding your own unique fundraising activity such as a morning tea or office fashion parade.
Every dollar raised on the day helps fund research into birth defects and diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and a range of genetic disorders at CMRI.

The research institute was established from grass roots community support in 1958 and relies heavily on the support of individuals – which through donations made to Jeans for Genes has to date raised more than $62 million for research.
Jeans for Genes Day will take place on Friday 7th August. For more information or to register your support visit our brand new site jeansforgenes.org.au

On Friday May 8th, the Hilton Hotel on George Street, Sydney again very generously opened their doors for a day of early Mother’s Day celebration, this year to 620 mothers and daughters!

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With the room adorned with the most magnificent red cyclamens and gift bags for all this was yet again the perfect setting to recognise& give thanks to all mothers across the globe, who dedicate their lives to making sure their children have the best possible start to life.

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Guests from all around Australia attending this year including CMRI committee members & several attendees who have annually attended the event since its conception.

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Also in attendance was this year’s special guest The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir, as well as MC for the day, Australian news presenter John Mangos.

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Ahead of the luncheon a vast array of raffle prizes ensured the guests had plenty to peruse as they sipped their pre-lunch champagne.

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Following the lunch came the much awaited conversation between MC John Mangos and Dame Marie. However the skilled interview by John and the delightfully unassuming and engaging personality of Dame Marie ensured that everyone in the room felt that they were all part of the conversation.

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John also did a great job of being a spontaneous auctioneer so much so that the bright yellow Merida City bicycle fetching a magnificent $3,500

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Also speaking at the event was CMRI Cancer Research scientist, Dr Hamish Campbell, proudly took to the stage to discuss the important research projects being undertaken at Children’s Medical Research Institute as well as the work currently being conducted within the Cancer Research Unit, highlighting the importance of support from the public in order to accelerate their research efforts.

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We’d like to thank all mums for simply being there in the meantime to offer unconditional love and support, which is sometimes a magical cure in itself.

We would like to extend a big thank you to the Hills committee for their hard work in organising such an amazing day. Raising a record breaking $43k+!!

Thanks again to special guest speaker, The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir, and our MC for the day, Australian news presenter John Mangos.

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