On July 14th the ARC Training Centre for Joint Biomechanics hosted the first QLD BIOTech Futures Challenge at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia in conjunction with QUT’s STEM High School Engagement program. Even though our Centre is focused on medical technologies, the QLD BIOTech Futures Challenge included a wide range of project topics and mentors from varying STEMM fields.

For 6 weeks, different High School teams conducted their research and designs for different projects for solutions in in health, biotechnology, and sustainability that they had chosen with their mentors and submitted their project findings in a short presentation at the QLD Biotech futures symposium.

Each QLD team pitched their project with the support of many centre researchers making it possible on the day:

🎤 Dr Edmund Pickering as our Master of Ceremony

💯 Our judges: Dr Robyn Stokes, Andrew Bradley, Ms Marine Launay and Mr Yohaann Ghosh who posed great questions to our teams!

🔬 Our mentors: Dr Wolbert van den Hoorn, Dr Devakar Epari, Dr  Edmund Pickering, Dr Jing Peng, Dr Rachel Pepper, Dr Alka Jaggessar AFHEA, Prof. Yi-Chin Toh, Dr Louis Ong & A/Prof Zhanying Zhang

⭐ Prof Yuantong Gu, Ms Simone Long, Ms Maddie McIntyre, and Miss Fiona Wyer for running the event

Our centre Director, Prof Yuantong Gu was highly impressed with the calibre of presentation on the day and sent a hearty thanks to our young competitors,

Congratulations to all teams! The presentations were of very high quality and very impressive. I would like to add special thanks to Prof Hala Zreiqat from University of Sydney to found this great national high-school engagement program! All the best to two winner teams in the competition at the coming National Finals in August! I look forward to hosting more Qld teams in our next year program!”

Centre Director Prof. Yuantong Gu with the 2022 Australian winner, Miss Evelyn Zhu from Pymble Ladies College, Sydney 

After the success of the QLD heat, our Centre Director Prof Yuantong Gu & Centre Manager Maddie McIntyre attended the BIOTech Futures Research Symposium on the 29th of August at the University of Sydney to support our QLD teams who competed in the national finals today. An idea for restoring touch with optogenics and bioluminesence – techniques to control the activity of neurons or other cell types using light – took out the competition’s top prize. Pymble Ladies College student Evelyn Zhu conceived her idea to assist amputees to experience touch and sensation from their prosthetics. She was commended on her approach to providing greater access for those with a disability, winning a 3D printer and DIY robotic arm kit.

We at the centre send out congratulations to Miss Zhu as the 2022 grand champion and are very grateful for the opportunity to build a strong STEM foundation for students as part of the BIOTech futures competition.