Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bio21 Institute visit with biochemistry students

Just before my semester break on 17th of September 2010, I visited Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute at Flemington Road, Parkville (a suburb of Melbourne) with my coursemates taking Techniques in Molecular Science (a biochemistry lab subject).

bio21 molecular science biotechnology institute parkville unimelb

What is Bio21 Institute?

Bio21 Molecular Science & Biotechnology Institute (short Bio21 Institute) is a bioscience research institute in Parkville Precinct, attached to The University of Melbourne. The institute houses researchers from various departments in the university involved in cutting edge medical research.

What do people in Bio21 Institute do?

Bio21 Institute is a medical research institute. Researchers in Bio21 perform health-related biotechnology research using input from their field of expertise, be it biochemistry/molecular biology, chemistry, nanotechnology or engineering. With capabilities in key platform technologies, the institute provides opportunity to develop interdisciplinary research. Researchers in Bio21 have interest in the following areas:
  • drug discovery and medicinal chemistry
  • nanobiotechnology
  • dental biotechnology - oral health science
  • environmental & agricultural biotechnology - safe pesticides
  • free radical chemistry & biotechnology
  • health sciences - immunity, cancer, ageing...
  • anti-infectives - vaccine, antibiotics, antifungals...
  • neuroscience & neurodegenerative diseases - Alzheimers

The Bio21 Institute building features an atrium with biologically inspired architecture.


You can tell that each level features structure reminiscent of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum.

We were brought into the labs containing high tech equipments.

mass spectrometer time of flight
This piece of instrument is called a mass spectrometer. It's used to measure the molecular mass of substances. The machine pictured above uses the time of flight technique - telling the molecular mass of a substance by measuring the time taken for the particles to travel in the (tall) tube under a constant electric field.

We moved on into the basement where Metabolomics Australia is located. Inside the labs are several chromatographs.

gas chromatography sampler
A sampler for (GC). It has a needle that draws sample and inject it into the device for analysis.

agilent technologies
Agilent Technologies - a household name among labs.

Down in an underground chamber houses the NMR lab. It's named "NMR Cave" lol.

nuclear magnetic resonance lab spectrometer
Looks like a space capsule ready to take off but it's really an NMR spectrometer.

NMR stands for nuclear magnetic resonance. It works by making use of magnetic properties of atomic nuclei. To know more, head here.

bio21 institute atrium couch sofa cozy
My favourite shot of the day, the cozy sofas in the atrium.

Will you want to take a look at

Thanks to Dr. Dӧne Onan of Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of University of Melbourne for organising this trip.

Interested to study biochemistry in university? Take the subjects of biology and chemistry in your school today!

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