Jeremy Briggs

Winter Research scholar
School of Biomedical Science

University goes very quickly and it is very easy to coast through whilst being oblivious to the many opportunities that are available to you. Winter and summer research projects are prime examples of opportunities that are not available outside of UQ. I did my winter project with Dr. Bradley Launikonis and can honestly say that it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my undergraduate science degree.

Dr. Launikonis’s research looks at the muscle response to malignant hyperthermia and it involved an incredibly interesting mix of wet lab work as well as muscle biopsy work. As a distance runner, I was interested in a project surrounding muscle, and having had Dr. Launikonis as a lecturer during my undergraduate degree, I knew that he was a leader in the field. Perhaps the most daunting part of applying for a project is emailing a researcher. However as I found, researchers often welcome the chance to involve students in their research.

One aspect of my project that I particularly enjoyed was learning how to manipulate individual muscle fibres – something that really helped to develop fine motor skills. What I enjoyed most about the experience was the welcoming environment in the lab. Both Dr. Launikonis and his PhD student Daniel Singh welcomed me from day 1 and I never felt out of place in the lab. As someone who had never done research before, having such a friendly lab environment was a huge part of why I enjoyed the experience so much. Ultimately, I think that this is indicative of research in general – if someone has a positive attitude and is willing to put in the work, then they will be welcomed with open arms, no matter their level of experience.

Although I finished my Bachelor of Science last year, Dr. Launikonis made it clear that I was always welcome in his lab and indeed, having started my MD this year, I continue to pop in from time to time to see how the research is going. The skills and experience I gained from my experience are invaluable and I’d strongly encourage anyone to apply for a project, even if they are not interested in pursuing research long term.

Jeremy Briggs