Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Super human boy visits labs


Many children are attracted to science, so they can make things explode but when 11-year-old Mitchell Coles had to choose a project for school he selected: Understanding of Genetics and the Brain.

Mitchell is studying the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program through his school, Cranbrook in Sydney. At the end of primary school those in the program must complete an eight-week project of investigation and research.

When it came to a decision about what to study, Mitchell remembered a social event he had attended earlier in 2018 – The Denim Disco. The event was a fundraiser for Children’s Medical Research Institute, but it also presented an opportunity for the children who attended to learn about science.
“I heard the stories about what children who were sick had gone through and I also got to meet some of the CMRI staff on the night,’’ Mitchell said. “I got more and more interested.’’

He decided to visit CMRI and meet some researchers, so they could explain more about how their work can help many rare brain disorders. Mitchell was particularly interested in how gene therapy was being used in modern medicine.

He spoke with CMRI researchers To Hai Loi and Maros Can Den Bergh who were both impressed by his questions at such a young age.

Mitchell’s mother Sophia Coles said his teachers were also amazed by his choice of topic.

“They were surprised by the complexity of it, but happy to see how determined he was.’’

After visiting the CMRI labs, Mitchell said he could definitely see himself becoming a scientist one day. He also revealed that his motivation, may be slightly more science-fiction based than his teachers had thought.

“I’d like to be a scientist, that would be cool – I could create a super human,’’ he joked.