PhD student Ryan Sixtus from the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health discussing how temperature and other environmental stressors are known to affect blood pressure and heart rate.
A group of forty Year 11 and 12 female students from all over the country visited the Centre for Translational Physiology (CTP) in July to learn about human physiology through a series of hands-on experiments supervised by staff and senior students.
The visit was part of the Innovative Young Minds programme run by Hutt City Council and Rotary Hutt City, which offers students the chance to experience science, technology, engineering, maths and high-tech manufacturing first hand.
At the CTP, students rotated around a series of four experiments: examining the effect of stimulation on heart rate and blood pressure; observing how body composition can be captured through the centre's dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry whole-body scanner; doing sprints in the heat of the GENESIS environmental chamber to learn about exercise physiology; and understanding the neurophysiology of saliva production.
Scientific Officer Dr Rachael Mason says many of the young women were under pressure from their families to go to university but were unsure about their study options.
“Most had not thought of human physiology research as a career pathway. Giving them the opportunity to see different types of human research will hopefully help them on their science journey.”