Media releases

Day of Immunology attracts students to Fed Uni

Posted: Wednesday 1 May 2019

Secondary school students from Ballarat and Western Victoria have immersed themselves in the fascinating world of the immune system for International Day of immunology at Federation University Australia’s Mt Helen Campus.

The international Day of Immunology is celebrated annually on 29 April to raise public awareness on the immune system. In Australia events are organised by the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology including secondary school workshops. 

The event, Your Body at War, is organised by the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology and the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC) in collaboration with FedUni’s School of Health and Life Sciences; and the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute (FECRI).

Fed Uni’s Professor Stuart Berzins gave the opening address. Professor Berzins, who leads a research team investigating human immune responses to cancer at the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute, delivered an overview of the human immune system and the development of important advances such as vaccination and immune-based therapies for cancer and other diseases.

The program invited Year 12 Biology students to reinforce their learning about the immune system through two hands-on lab sessions and talks from practicing immunologists about their research and career pathways.

Under the guidance of postgraduate mentors and teachers from the participating organisations, students used microscopes to view and compare the white blood cell response in healthy and diseased tissue in various communicable and non-communicable diseases such as arthritis and cold sores.

Teachers and scientific researchers, led by Professor Stuart Berzins from Fed Uni and the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute (FECRI), demonstrated the fundamentals of immunology to the students. The schools attending were East Loddon P-12 College, Murrayville Community College, Phoenix P-12 Community College and Stawell Secondary College.

A second event will be held at the University’s Berwick Campus on Friday, 10 May. Organised by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Immunology, it will feature five teachers and 40 students.

More information can be found at

Picture: Professor Stuart Berzins and students Tess Marrow and Melita Squire

Quotes attributable to Principal Research Fellow at Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute and Federation University Professor Stuart Berzins:

“Our research group at FECRI studies specialised cells and molecules that regulate the immune responses against cancer - so it’s a pleasure to speak to students about our research and to review the immunology component of the VCE Biology curriculum with them.”  

“On the day, students will participate in hands-on immunology-based practical activities in working laboratories at Fed Uni under supervision of experts from the government funded Gene Technology Access Centre.”

“Students will be based at the Science and Engineering laboratories for two immunology sessions and return for career talks from immunologists about different jobs related to the discipline.”

Quotes attributable to National Day of Immunology Coordinator, Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology, Dr Gabriela Khoury:

“The Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology is delighted to be collaborating with Federation University and GTAC again in 2019 to bring immunology to students in country Victoria”

“The primary goal of the International Day of Immunology is to promote education on the importance of the immune systems during health and disease. Our secondary school workshops capture this objective and inspire the next generation of immunologists.“

Contact Matthew Freeman
Media and Government Relations
03 5327 9510; 0408 519 674