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What goes on inside a pathology laboratory?

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30th October, 2023

International Pathology Day is on 8 November 2023. To celebrate, we’ve given some budding young scientists access to one of our newest laboratories to find out what happens behind the lab doors!

Inter­na­tion­al Pathol­o­gy Day is all about cel­e­brat­ing the impor­tance of pathol­o­gy in our health­care system.

Pathol­o­gy plays an invalu­able role in the detec­tion, diag­no­sis, and treat­ment of dis­ease.  As Australia’s largest pub­lic pathol­o­gy provider, we’re proud that our net­work of over 60 lab­o­ra­to­ries and 150+ col­lec­tion cen­tres is keep­ing our com­mu­ni­ty safe and healthy.

This year, we’ve opened our doors to some future sci­en­tists – Spencer and Emil­ia (both aged 7) – to tour our Nepean lab­o­ra­to­ry which was offi­cial­ly opened in August and inter­view some of the staff who work there.

Cather­ine Jan­to is Spencer’s aunt and is the A/Senior Hos­pi­tal Sci­en­tist in Charge of Micro­bi­ol­o­gy at the Nepean laboratory.

She began work­ing in micro­bi­ol­o­gy 13 years ago and says she loves that the job is all about help­ing patients.

A woman wearing a white lab coat sits at a laboratory desk talking to a young boy in a lab coat.
Spencer’s aunt Cather­ine talks him through a day in the life of Nepean pathol­o­gy laboratory.

“We play a big role in diag­nos­ing infec­tions. We grow bac­te­ria, detect virus­es, par­a­sites and fun­gi to work out why some­one is sick, and what kind of infec­tion they may have,” she explained.

“In the lab we don’t see patients face-to-face, we are focused on our agar plates and PCR ampli­fi­ca­tion curves, so it’s good to remind our­selves there are patients who we’re help­ing behind every result.

“It’s a reward­ing feel­ing to be able to work in this brand-new lab­o­ra­to­ry that we designed and got up and run­ning, essen­tial­ly for the future of Nepean Hos­pi­tal and sur­round­ing community.”

A woman in a white lab coat stands next to a young girl in a lab coat holding a microphone.
Michelle Bas­nett explains to her niece Emil­ia why she loves work­ing in pathology.

Michelle Bas­nett, Emilia’s aunt, is a tech­ni­cal offi­cer in the lab and told her niece that even though her job involves study­ing poo – she loves work­ing in pathology!

“We receive all sorts of sam­ples here at the lab, like urine, we look at stools or poo, tis­sue or flesh from the body, swabs, we also look at blood and oth­er flu­id com­ing from the body,” she said.

“I chose to work in pathol­o­gy because I real­ly liked sci­ence at school and I was inter­est­ed in how the body works.

“It’s very hands on and I’m a very visu­al per­son, so I like to use my obser­va­tion­al skills, for exam­ple using the micro­scope to look for organ­isms, I find it all quite interesting.”

Thanks Spencer and Emil­ia for check­ing out the lab and we hope to see you back in front of a micro­scope again one day!


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