Tamara Marcus

Tamara Marcus

Student working in the lab
Honours student Tamara Marcus is investigating how
healthy bowel tissue develops, and what goes wrong in
bowel cancer.

Why did you choose the Institute for your Honours year?

The Institute is a well-respected research organisation which I was keen to join. Everyone here is passionate about science and takes pride in what they do.  

What do you see as the benefits of doing Honours at the Institute?

It’s fantastic to be are surrounded by researchers who are at the forefront of their field, but who are approachable and willing to teach or give tips for your experiment. Supervisors are full-time researchers, so this also gives you a glimpse of what a scientist’s day is like.

What is the subject of your Honours research?

I’m studying signalling within cells found a part of the bowel wall called the colon crypt. When this process goes wrong, it can lead to the development of bowel cancer. My project investigates two signalling pathways, called the Notch and Wnt signalling pathways. I’m using fluorescent reporter proteins to identify which cells in the colon crypt have an active Wnt and/or Notch signalling pathways - the cells that have the active signalling pathway will fluoresce. 

One of the highlights of my research is when we get a positive result from our experiments – this guides the next step we take. It’s exciting that we don’t know which direction our experiments will take us towards answering our broader research questions.

What does a typical working day involve?

A typical day starts with checking my emails and sometimes a brief meeting with my supervisor. Then I get into the lab to check on my cultured cell lines and ongoing experiments, and set up new  experiments. I often attend seminars during the day. At the end of the day I like to collate my data and plan the next step in my research as well as reading recent scientific papers.

What did you do before starting Honours? 

I completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences at RMIT University. My main discipline areas were biochemistry, anatomy and physiology. I enjoyed it!