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Microbiology Logo Microbiology & Immunology
Te Tari Moromoroiti me te Ārai Mate


The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is committed to a wide range of university and community outreach projects, as well as running our own school programmes. We are excited about showing the world that microbiology and immunology are relevant fields of study that offer huge potential now and for the future!

School hostings

Every year, while university students are enjoying their mid-year break, our teaching labs become a place of discovery for high school students. In recent years Dr Judith Bateup has hosted hundreds of groups of students from schools around the Otago region, either in support of the microbiology module in the curriculum or as a way of providing microbiology education for schools who may not otherwise have the opportunity. This programme comes at no cost to the school - all teachers need to do is transport the students to us and they will have the chance to discover a tiny world through the microscope and learn how it affects almost every aspect of life on our planet.

John McGlashan 2016

Year 11 at John McGlashan College, examine the life found in pond water.

School visits

We can send our 'mobile microbiologists' far and wide to the schools who can't make it to visit us. Many of our senior students and teaching staff participate, and love the opportunity to get schools and communities excited about our research.

Kirsten Ros Hornby

PhD student Kirsten Ward-Hartstone and Associate Professor Ros Kemp explain the action of our amazing immune system to a class in Christchurch.

Greg OBHS May 2017

Professor Greg Cook talks to a local high school group about the action of bacteria and viruses, and the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Lab in a Box

Lab in a Box is a mobile science laboratory, built in a 20-foot shipping container and fully equipped with cutting-edge scientific equipment including a set of microscopes. It spends its time touring the South Island, visiting schools and communities along with a dedicated team of educators to take groups through a selection of scientific activities and experiments. Staff of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology often participate in tours so visitors get the benefit of learning directly from our experts. 

Lab in a Box

The box set up and ready for students.

Omarama school students

Students from Omarama School examine what's grown on their agar dishes after incubating them overnight in Lab in a Box.

Judith and kids

Dr Judith Bateup and a class from Catlins Area School talk about the wonders of microbial world during a visit to Lab in a Box.

Hands-On at Otago

Hands-On at Otago offers a friendly and interactive 'summer science camp' environment in which senior high school students from all over New Zealand experience a research environment at the University of Otago. Groups rotate through a range of practical activities, including microbiology and immunology tasters.

Ed and student at Hands on at Otago

PhD student and demonstrator Ed Taylor shows a student the more technical side of immunology.

University events and expos

Throughout the year the University of Otago runs many events, expos and open days for students, potential students, families and members of the public to learn about study and research. The International Science Festival, Science Expo, Tertiary Info Day and Postgraduate Open Day are all opportunities for us to showcase the fascinating world that can't be seen with the naked eye.

Judith and Dave Cull

Dr Judith Bateup shows Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull a sample of the 1kg of microbes in every human body at a Science Expo.