QIMR Berghofer Research Institute, Herston

Tuesday, 1 August 2023

We had another good roll up of thirty-four (34) for this event (35 for lunch) which included one (1) visitor (Noel Cass) – Welcome Noel.

On arrival we were treated to a cuppa & biscuits along with an opportunity for informal mixing & chatting with a variety of QIMR staff including Doctors & Researchers.

After Smoko we moved to the auditorium & Clare Blake (Community Relations Officer) formally welcomed & provided us with a history of the institute from its inception in the 1940s to the present – It was a great presentation, very informative & well received by all members in attendance. On completion of Clare’s presentation, we broke up into five groups for our guided tours of the following laboratories (Labs) –

  1. Blood Cancer Lab. – Including Leukemia & Lymphoma.
  2. Transplant Immunology Lab. – Including Graft/Host Disease.
  3. Skin Cancers Lab. – Including Melanoma & Immunotherapy.
  4. Mosquito Control Lab. – Including Malaria, Dengue Fever & Ross River Fever.
  5. Mental Health Lab. – Including Dementia & Depression.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the guided tour of the mosquito lab., & some of the things I learned from this tour along with Clare’s presentation are as follows –

  • The institute operates a total of sixty-six Labs.
  • Every dollar donated to the Cancer Research Institute (QIMR Berghofer) is spent on Cancer Research – The Qld. Government Funds All the Institutes Administration Costs.
  • 800 people (Doctors, Researchers & Administration Staff etc.) work on site.
  • There are 30,000 different species of Mosquitoes world-wide.
  • Thankfully, we only have 300 different species of Mosquito in Australia.
  • Surprise, surprise, only the females of the species bite us – The males contribute to the proliferation of the species etc.
  • The Lifespan of a Mosquito ranges from two (2) to four (4) months depending on conditions etc.
  • The main incubation/hatching period is after rain.
  • Mosquitos love stagnant water & wet leaves etc. in house gutters – Obviously, this is a good hint for all of us to keep our house gutters always clean, but, in particular straight after rain.
  • One example of what is currently being researched at the institute is the development of a pill/tablet for control of Asthma.

Following lunch, members birthdays falling in August were acknowledged & celebrated in our usual manner Viz Eric Canning, Bevan Devine, Bob Mackinlay, Peter Neylon & Keith Ott.

Special thanks to all who contributed to making this another safe & enjoyable event for all attendees, including David Turner & Clare Blake for organising this event; Clare & the Institute Team for hosting this event, providing us with a very educational overview of the history of the institution along with the guided tours of the labs.; Michael Bourke & Russell Mauch for looking after our finances & name badges including receipting & banking of surplus cash; Warwick Dingle for ensuring we were all accounted for before our coach  departed again after each stop; Michael Bourke, Russell Mauch, Warwick Dingle, David Turner & Bob Whittaker for assisting the researchers during our lab. Tours; Bob Whittaker for his usual gig as our first aid officer; Rowdy Reid for looking after our hydration needs; Jan Neal for making our birthday cake; The staff at the MiHi Tavern for our excellent Lunches; Warwick Dingle for assisting the kitchen staff to ensure the correct meals were received by our members in a timely manner; & finally our coach driver Graham for transporting us to & from Herston safely.

Based on all the feedback (verbal & email) that I have received from members & Clare (on behalf of the institute), I can safely say this event was thoroughly enjoyed by attendees & researchers alike – Full credit to David & Clare for hanging in there since 2019 through all the hiccups & postponements (mainly due to COVID-19 restrictions) to finally make this event a reality – Well done David & Clare.

Dick 8th August 2023