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Tuesday 12 October

Dr Amandeep Kaur, USyd

Imaging technologies to see and understand our microscopic living world (Module 1)

Advancements in microscopes have revolutionised our ability to visualise and understand cellular structures and a range of biochemical phenomena. This lecture will take you on a journey through the microscopic living world. I will discuss how we can use our understanding of light rays and chemical molecules (fluorescent dyes and radiotracers) to understand the structure and functions of the living world. Together we will delve into the dynamic realm of our cells, such as the cell’s own public transport system (motor proteins) and discover the cells’ defense system to fight disease-causing micro-organisms. The lecture will include practical examples of how microscopes have evolved from the traditional bench-top models and transformed the level of detail we can capture when clicking Cellfies and recording videos of our living world.

Amandeep Kaur is a University of Sydney Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the School of Medical Sciences and has recently been awarded the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award. At the University of Sydney, Dr Kaur develops innovative molecules that can glow in the dark and allow us to see and take pictures of the microscopic events happening inside our cells. Dr Kaur applies these molecules to understand the role of proteins in health and disease.

In 2016, she completed her PhD at the University of Sydney, with A/Prof. Elizabeth New during which she worked on the design and synthesis of reversible fluorescent redox sensors for understanding the role of oxidative stress in physiology and pathology. She then moved to the EMBL Australia Node for Single Molecule Science at the University of New South Wales as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2017-2018). During her postdoctoral research she developed a strong expertise in imaging biological phenomena with high spatio-temporal resolution utilising cutting-edge imaging technologies. In 2018, Amandeep also worked as a Chemistry Consultant with the Brien Holden Vision Institute, providing advice towards the design and development of therapeutics for pre-clinical myopia-treatment trials.

Josephine Ontedhu, Rouse Hill Anglican

Supporting students to manage the course content during their preparation for HSC Module 2

HSC Biology course is extremely content heavy. While the HSC paper can be expected to be largely application oriented in the sense that most of the questions will expect the students to apply their knowledge to answer questions that use higher order verbs, the starting point during student preparation will be to memorise the content. How can we structure our teaching to support them towards that goal?

Josephine Ontedhu teaches at Rouse Hill Anglican College.  Josephine has a doctorate in biology from Western Sydney University and several publications in peer reviewed scientific journals. She has six years of teaching experience in stages 4, 5 and 6.

Ashley Mulcahy, Taronga Zoo

Wildlife at Risk and Biological Diversity (Module 3)

Taronga zoo is a global resource in conservation with research leading to a greater understanding of the relationship within and between species, and how these are influenced by their abiotic surrounds.

Taronga run two depth studies that align with outcomes from both Biology and EES, Wildlife at Risk, and Biological Diversity.

Wildlife at Risk is a full day Depth Study where scientists share their current research projects and discuss how Taronga is working to create a shared future for humans and wildlife. Students also hear from our team who specialise in human behaviour change, guiding students on how they can lead a change in their social networks.

Biological Diversity is also a full day depth study run at various locations across NSW in conjunction with the Australian Museum and The Botanical Gardens, where students will engage with evolution, comparative anatomy, selective pressures adaptations and genetic relationships from a range of experts.

The both are dynamic programs and run at various times throughout the year.

Ashley Mulcahy has been teaching high school science since 2008. He is a member of the STANSW council and passionate about environmental education running many local and community projects. He has presented at various STANSW and ASTA conferences during this time and hopes to encourage all students to engage with science and think critically about their world. In 2021 he moved to the role of Senior Education Officer at Taronga. and hopes to expand his outreach beyond the local community.

Nadiah Roslan, Australian Museum

FrogID: a case study for implementing citizen science in Yr 11-12 Biology (Module 4)

FrogID is an Australian Museum initiative involving public participation in gathering frog calls using the free FrogID app. Frogs play a vital role in the health of environment and sadly they face many threats, such as, disease, pollution, habitat modification and climate change. By recording their advertisement calls, we are gaining a better understanding of where frogs are distributed across Australia and how they’re doing.

Since FrogID was established in 2017, thousands of Australians have helped build an unprecedented, continental-scale dataset of over 380,000 frog records across 204 Australian frog species. To date over 126,000 expert-verified frog records have been made available on the FrogID website and the Atlas of Living Australia. Enabling all Australians to get involved, FrogID can be used as a nature-based citizen science educational tool, applying real-world data to facilitate scientific skills and undertake practical investigations.

This workshop will provide a broad overview of the FrogID project, what FrogID data is telling us, and how it can be explored across syllabuses and Science Extension Research Projects. Join us to find out how you can harness the power of citizen science in your teaching and use FrogID to address goals in fieldwork, data analysis and Stage 6 scientific skills.

Nadiah is a biologist from Australia’s bush capital, Canberra, with experience in coordinating projects on climate change biology and phenology for the research and not-for-profit sector. She previously studied a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) at the Australian National University, and a Master of Science (Tropical Marine Ecology) at James Cook University. Since joining the Australian Museum Herpetology team in 2020, Nadiah has been working as the Project Coordinator of FrogID, a national citizen science project that is informing frog conservation by recording their calls with the FrogID app.

Julie Mulholland & Bridget Murphy

ANSTO - Addressing working scientifically skills using real-world science (Multidisciplinary)

Teaching at a working science facility like ANSTO, we focus on the process of science, not just the facts that go with it. Teachers will hear from one of our scientists talking about how they use working scientifically skills as part of their job at ANSTO. We’ll then discuss our data set resources, developed specifically to engage students with real ANSTO scientific investigations and data. These resources guide students in deconstructing the investigation, processing and analysing the data and formulating the same conclusions as the scientists – all working scientifically skills.

  Julie Mulholland is an Education Officer from Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). She is a highly experienced science educator, having over 30 years of experience teaching science, senior chemistry and senior physics in both TAFE and high schools, as well as 14 years as a Head Teacher Science. In 2013, she achieved a Minister’s award for excellence in teaching. Julie is instrumental in developing ANSTO’s data set resources for high school students.





Bridget Murphy has experience as a science researcher and science educator and is the Education Manager at the ANSTO Discovery Centre.



Wednesday 13 October

Jessica O'Hare, Macquarie University

Contextualising the use of genetic technologies for population genetics and species identification for Module 5

Genetic technologies are rapidly evolving, with countless applications in diverse fields. The HSC syllabus provides opportunity to cover key technologies, such as gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction, and Sanger sequencing. An efficient and informative way to teach these technologies is to contextualise them with a comprehensive research example. This workshop will discuss the process of DNA barcoding and provide links to research examples, such as species identification, biodiversity monitoring, and COVID tests. There will be opportunity for participants to engage with a hands-on activity to answer a biological question using real genetic sequences. The line of inquiry demonstrated during this workshop forms the basis of a Depth Study in genetics.

Jessica O'Hare is a member of the Conservation Genetics Laboratory at Macquarie University. She is passionate about teaching Biology in any context, engaging in outreach with primary and secondary school students, teaching undergraduate and masters level students, supervising PhD candidates, and running a professional development course in Genetic Technologies. Her teaching style draws on contemporary research to contextualise core concepts in biology, with a specific focus on genetics.

Dr Lauren McKnight, Garvan Institute

Genetic Futures - Case studies for Module 6

From medicine to agriculture to conservation; genetic technologies are the new frontier of biology. Module 6 offers a rich selection of authentic and engaging contexts for learning. Drawing on examples from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of New South Wales’ School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, this workshop will model the creation of engaging, scaffolded learning activities based on cutting edge advances in biology. Refine your approach to this module using a variety of frameworks for developing the conceptual and higher order skills that students require to consider current issues in biotechnology

Dr Lauren McKnight is a science educator in the Garvan Institute’s Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, exploring and facilitating genetics education in school and community settings. Lauren completed her PhD in the faculty of Medicine at Sydney University and has experience and a passion for supporting scientific literacy in learners of all ages.

Derek Williamson

UNSW Museum of Human Disease

Infectious disease specimens and their use in understanding the processes of infection and the body's responses (Module 7)

This workshop will focus on infectious diseases and the bodies responses to pathogens. The presenter will provide specimen images from the disease and incorporate other images to enhance understanding. The workshop will include opportunity for attendees to participate by developing resources for use in classroom lessons which will be shared with the group.

Derek Williamson is a science educator with 25 years’ experience in museums, science centres, schools and a host of other places. Originally a zoologist Williamson realised it was far more enjoyable talking about other people chasing frogs around swamps than chasing them himself.

Currently the director of the Museum of Human Disease, a teaching collection of the faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Australia’s only publicly accessible pathology collection. Williamson is daily faced with the need to engage students not just with science but with disease – a double edged sword hangs over his organisation.

He comes back to good education as a means of creating awareness, dialogue and learning about things more corporeal.

Williamson is currently undertaking a Masters by research looking at ways to promote the learning experience of Museum visitors.

Eugenia O'Brien, with Lois Cohen and Vanessa Gibbens
USYD | Moriah College | Carlingford High School

Deepening the Biotech Experience (Module 8)

Using the tools, techniques and processes that are actually involved in the development of medicines for non-infectious diseases and disorders can deepen the understanding and experiences for our year 12 students and provide crucial linkages for modules 5, 6 and 8. The Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) offers training, equipment and resources to enable students to conduct practical investigations into processes such as genetic engineering, gel electrophoresis and polymerase chain reaction. Hear from the ABE facilitators and from biology teachers who are running the program with their students as part of a depth study or classroom prac, and how students are consolidating learning from various modules and refining skills in biotechnology.

Eugenia O'Brien is the Senior Science Communicator for Biology and Agriculture with the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney. She spends much of her time engaging high school students in the amazing possibilities in STEM, and is involved in developing and delivering a range of curriculum relevant workshops, hands-on activities and events across the disciplines of biology, molecular biosciences, agriculture and veterinary science. Eugenia is also the coordinator for an in-school biotechnology program being offered by the University - the Amgen Biotech Experience. She studied ecology and environmental science, science communication and primary education, and has worked in the fields of science outreach, science marketing and communications, and education. Her own interest in, and enthusiasm for science is reflected in her constant drive to encourage others to ask questions, test hypotheses and be involved with the most exciting, rewarding and necessary part of life – science.

Vanessa Gibbens is a Science Teacher at Carlingford High School. She is passionate about genetics and biotechnology, and engaging her students in the fascinating world of science, so is very excited to be teaching the current Stage 6 Biology syllabus. Vanessa studied her Bachelor of Science at Sydney University, before completing a Graduate Diploma of Education at the University of New England. She implemented the Amgen Biotech Experience at her school with the previous Biology syllabus (Biotech option) in her first year of teaching, and now incorporates the program into the new syllabus to cover concepts across all modules.


Lois is currently the Head of Science at Moriah College and has worked there for the last 7 years where her training has led her team on a journey to be more inquiry based and hands-on. Lois currently teaches Junior Science and HSC Biology and has successfully used the Amgen Biotech program for her Year 12 Depth Study for the last three years. With her team in her first year at Moriah College, Lois wrote a new Stage 5 STEM curriculum that has been NESA approved since 2016 and based around the strengths of her faculty. Lois is also the Chair of the AIS Science Professional Learning Advisory Committee that provides many NESA approved professional learning activities on subjects including upskilling teachers for the new HSC Science curriculum and Working Scientifically Skills, differentiation in science, helping teachers manage online learning, and planning and running AIS conferences for science teachers. Before moving to Moriah College, Lois was a science teacher and year coordinator at North Sydney Girls High School. And before moving to Australia 11 years ago with her family, Lois worked as Head of Science for 10 years at a K-12 school in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, where she also trained as an IB, MYP teacher. Lois graduated Valedictorian with a 1st BA degree majoring in Genetics/Biology and minoring in Chemistry, she has a Master’s degree in Curriculum Design and a teaching certificate for General Science, Biology and Chemistry. Before entering the academic world Lois worked at the National Zoo in DC and the Kansas City Zoo with the gorillas and orangutans.

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