Students go radioactive
One of the largest and best-equipped teaching facilities of its kind in Australia will open today at the University of Newcastle.
The $1.5 million radiopharmacy laboratory provides a state-of-the-art space for nuclear medicine students to prepare and dispense radiopharmaceuticals, which are radioactive pharmaceuticals used to diagnose and treat diseases.
Radiopharmaceuticals are injected into a patient's bloodstream and send diagnostic signals to a computer, which builds images of the patient's internal body structure and function. The process, known as radiopharmacy, is used to visualise many organs including the brain, thyroid, lungs, liver, kidneys and gallbladder, and is particularly useful in diagnosing cancer and heart conditions.
Under construction for the past 12 months, the laboratory features a 3D PET scanner, video facilities for online learning, 13 fully integrated student-instructor workstations and dose calibrator systems, which measure the activity of radiopharmaceuticals.
Head of the School of Health Sciences, Professor Darren Rivett, said the laboratory would provide a high-tech dedicated space for the next generation of nuclear scientists to develop their practical skills and would also be used in cutting-edge collaborative research.
"Previously, students have simulated the preparation of radiopharmaceuticals in class and developed practical skills while on clinical placement.
"This laboratory is a significant investment in teaching infrastructure, providing students with the latest technology as used in the workplace, and promoting integrated learning."
The University has been teaching the Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Nuclear Medicine) degree program since 1991 and recently increased the number of places available due to demand.
Photo opportunity: The radiopharmacy laboratory will be officially opened, Tuesday 21 July, at 3pm. It is located in room HC23 in the Hunter building at the University’s Callaghan campus. Media please contact Katie Porritt in the Media and PR team on 02 4921 5120 for directions and parking permits.
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