Summer interns gain lab experience with the Centre

Meet four students who joined the Centre for Stem Cell Systems for 2020 Summer Internships, gaining experience working with supervisors on the design, execution and analysis of an experiment.

The Centre for Stem Cell Systems offers University of Melbourne second- and third-year undergraduate students and Masters students the opportunity to undertake a Summer Internship with labs within the Centre.

Summer Interns work in their supervisor’s laboratory on the design, execution and analysis of an experiment and complete a write up of their project.

Meet four students who joined the Centre for Stem Cell Systems for 2020 Summer Internships:

Catherine Song

Catherine is currently completing her Masters of Engineering, specialising in Software Engineering. During her time with the Centre, she completed bioinformatics related work with the Stemformatics team and was supervised by Dr Jarny Choi. With the team, Catherine learnt how to run pipelines to analyse data.

“I was interested in studying with the Centre for Stem Cell Systems, because it specialises in stem cells, which is an area that I have been interested in since high school. I wanted to gain more experience in bioinformatics as I'd like to pursue further studies in fields such as genetics or stem cells or even a combination of both!” said Catherine.

Yijun Ji

Yijun is currently completing the third year of her Bachelor of Science, majoring in neuroscience. During her summer project, Yijun worked with the Clark Lab to characterise the isoforms of neuropsychiatric disease risk genes, including CNTN4, GRIA1 and SNAP91.

“This internship was great for me because there were lots of resources and people to help me. I loved being able to work in the lab” said Yijun.

Lani Li

Lani enjoyed learning about developmental biology and neurophysiology during her Bachelor of Biomedicine and was curious about working in a research lab. To gain experience in the lab, Lani completed a summer project with the Stamp & Hao Lab, and investigated the link between enteric neurons and intestinal epithelial stem cells. During the project, she practiced techniques such as culturing intestinal organoids which involved dissecting tissue and isolating intestinal stem cells to set up a culture system and grow them into a mini developmental model of the gut.

“Science has always fascinated me! I think I’m a pretty inquisitive person, I’m always eager to learn more about how the world works” said Lani.

“I learnt a lot during my time in the lab during the project under the supervision of Lincon Stamp and Marlene Hao, who were really fantastic” she continued.

Lani also volunteered to be a Science Ambassador at the Centre for Stem Cell Systems’ recent event Stem Cells @ UniMelb, an event for high school students to learn more about stem cell research.

“The students were really engaging and active in asking questions. It’s great to see their interest and how keen they were about stem cells and research!” said Lani.

Lani is now starting her Honours year with the Stamp-Hao Lab.

Hamish Bulford

Hamish is currently completing a Bachelor of Science (majoring in Neuroscience) as well as a Diploma of Language (majoring in French).

Whilst at the Centre, Hamish worked with Professor Megan Munsie in the Munsie Lab to conduct research on stem cells in the field of dentistry, particularly with regards to the global market of dental stem cell banking.

Hamish also completed other small research pieces on the marketing of stem cell treatments in general.

“I am interested in public health and medical ethics, and so Megan’s research area of the social and ethical implications of stem cells looked fascinating – this led me to reach out to her and she was kind enough to want to have me on board” said Hamish.

Long term, Hamish is hoping to end up in the field of public health. His internship with the Centre solidified his interest in the intersection of medical science and society.

However, Hamish isn’t closing any doors yet, with clinical medicine a definite possibility.

“I’m looking to try and take every opportunity in the next couple of years to sample different areas of the biosciences to ascertain in which direction I might want to head” concluded Hamish.

To learn more about the Centre for Stem Cell Systems’ Summer Internships, visit the Study page on our website or email:

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Centre for Stem Cell Systems