BREAST cancer research being carried out by Bachelor of Clinical Science students at Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) Orange campus is set to lift the profile of the university.
Students Stephanie Martin, Shae Tripp and Emily Nadwie are undertaking research to test the effects of two substances, used in conjunction, on breast cancer cells.
“The two substances, Curcumin and Artemisinin, had previously been shown to affect the levels of antioxident molecules and free radicals within cells,” Ms Martin said.
“Artemisinin has been shown to increase the production of extremely reactive molecules called free radicals, which can damage the cell.”
Ms Martin said Curcumin was a component of the spice Tumeric, and had been shown to decrease the concentration of antioxidant defence substances within a cell.
The research is being overseen by CSU senior lecturer in medicinal chemistry Dr Christopher Parkinson and biomedical science lecturer Dr Scott Andrew.
Dr Parkinson returned to Australia last year after 22 years working overseas and says he is keen to see CSU’s Orange campus advance its profile in research.
“One of the things I am trying to do, after coming back, is to get us here at the university to punch above our weight,”he said.
The 12 Bachelor of Clinical Science students were broken into smaller groups of three or four and took part in a seminar to determine a topic for their research.
“This is very exciting and although this particular concept has not been published we are trying to put Orange on the map when it comes to research,” Dr Parkinson said.
He said the three students focusing on the cancer study had determined there was a gap in this type of breast cancer research.
Dr Parkinson said not many undergraduate students had the opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ experience such as this.
“This type of research will equip them with skills to take on a PhD,” he said.
Dr Parkinson said the clinical science degree was ideal for anyone wanting to study in a medical-related field, but had not settled on their discipline of choice, offering a chance for students to transition into dental or medical degrees.
He said the research component of the degree equipped students with certain skills and opened up additional opportunities.
“Students learn that science is not an individual pursuit and teamwork is important,” he said.
“I certainly didn’t know what I wanted to do at the age of 18,” he said.