Budding IMB life scientists join world’s best at prestigious US courses

19 Jun 2013

Two postgraduate students from The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience will learn from some of the world’s best scientific minds after securing places at prestigious US laboratories.

Third-year developmental biology PhD students Elanor Wainwright and Kathryn McClelland, who are both students of IMB Division Head Professor Peter Koopman, beat thousands of student and postdoc applicants worldwide to secure their places in their respective course cohorts for 2013.

Both courses comprise a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions for six days per week and one-on-one mentoring from leading scientists, including Nobel Prize winners.

Elanor Wainwright is one of only 14 participants accepted to join the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Mouse Development, Stem Cells and Cancer course from 5-25 June in New York.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is at the forefront of advances in life sciences research and is internationally renowned for training some of the world leaders in the field today.

In her research, Ms Wainwright has been investigating the signals underlying the formation of gonads and kidneys in mice.

“To me, the development of an embryo is one of the most fascinating phenomena,” Ms Wainwright said.

“I think that the journey of a single cell, which divides, signals, differentiates, changes shape, migrates and gives rise to a living organism, is truly amazing.

“Studying the mouse is a powerful model to understand fundamental human development and discover the basis of human birth defects and cancer, and it’s this interest that motivates me in my own research.

“At this course, I will work with some of the world’s brightest and motivated students in my field and have international leaders teaching me every day.

“This is such an amazing opportunity for me personally and for my career.

“I can’t wait to learn from some of the world leaders in developmental biology and have hands-on practice with the latest techniques.”

Kathryn McClelland is one of only 23 participants accepted to join the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Embryology: Concepts and Techniques in Modern Developmental Biology course from 1 June – 14 July in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Ms McClelland’s research is focused on translating developmental mechanisms from mouse to human and adapting technologies for use in the mouse model from other model systems such as zebrafish.

As part of the course, Ms McClelland will be exposed to a wide variety of developmental systems including intensively studying genetic model systems and will be introduced to a wide range of emerging systems, including locally available marine organisms, that help fill in the evolutionary history of animal diversity.

“This is a course that everyone hears about in undergrad and wants to take part in,” Ms McClelland said.

“Woods Hole will give me the opportunity to focus on science and expand my knowledge and experience in working with a range of techniques, organisms and concepts I have only ever seen in textbooks.

“I am excited to explore the field and think beyond my project with some of the world’s best scientists and hopefully it will help me determine what future developmental challenges I want to pursue in postdoctoral research.”

IMB Director (Research) Professor Jenny Stow congratulated Ms Wainwright and Ms McClelland on their achievements.

“Elanor and Kathryn have excelled in their work and studies here at IMB and their acceptance into these highly competitive international courses is proof of their hard work and scientific potential within the field,” Professor Stow said.

“With only a handful of students being accepted into each of these courses, we are proud to have two IMB students accepted and ready to give these courses their all and exchange knowledge and skills with their peers around the world.”

Make a difference today by donating to IMB’s student program at www.imb.uq.edu.au/donate or call (07) 3346 2132.


High-res images and interview opportunities with Elanor Wainwright and Kathryn McClelland are available on request.

Media: Gemma Ward, Acting IMB Communications Officer on 0439 651 107 or (07) 3346 2155