The event had added significance this year as the school celebrated 50 years since the commencement of the Laboratory Medicine course at the Bentley campus.

More than 110 guests attended the gala dinner at the Matilda Bay restaurant in late April, including scientists from public and private pathology (the majority of whom are WAIT/Curtin alumni), Curtin academic and technical staff, industry representatives and the family and friends of prize recipients.

It was a great opportunity for past and present staff and students to reflect on five decades of achievement and consider what is up ahead: guest speaker and former head of the school, Adjunct Professor John Wetherall, provided historic insights into the school’s evolution and his predictions for the future of the discipline.

When the school opened in the late 1960s there were between 60 to 80 students across the three years of the Laboratory Medicine course. The dawn of automation was emerging:  many of the laboratory methods that were taught at that time relied on manual techniques that have been superseded through advances in technology or replaced by more relevant markers of disease.  Today, the student population within the School of Biomedical Sciences has expanded to more than 1,030, with courses also offered in Human Biology, Oral Health Therapy and Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology.

Support for the event was provided by pathology industry sponsors and relevant professional societies, with the 50 Years of Innovation project providing additional funding to help turn this into a particularly special occasion.