Currently, I spend more time is on writing, management and planning than in the lab, but I do still find myself doing several experiments per week. It is important to understand this, as many people are attracted to the lab work aspect of things, and don't realise that there is a lot more to it.
In conjunction with my research role, I also work as a teaching associate at UTS tutoring in practical classes and lecturing. The opportunity to do this has complemented my research work nicely.
What part of your work inspires you the most? Why do you find it interesting?
My research focus is very 'applied', so it’s easy to see why we are performing the research and what the benefits will be. I am inspired to think that the work I am doing has the ability to be translated into an outcome that has a direct benefit to a patient or community. I also love working with students and junior staff, and seeing them develop a passion for their work. It helps to keep me motivated.
I find it interesting that you never know what the answer will be or where your research project will end up. You plan and generate a hypothesis, but science and research often has a way of surprising you. You find the answer to one question, only to find that you now have three more questions to answer. It is rarely boring if you are passionate about your research area.
How did you get to your current role?
I graduated from UTS with Honours, and then moved to UNSW to carry out a PhD. My PhD was focused on the development of megakaryocytes, which are the precursors for platelets (which are the focus of my current research endeavours). I then obtained a post-doctoral research position at a local biotechnology company, where I worked on the role of human expressed cytokines on haematopoietic development. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) resulted in the folding of the biotechnology company, so I returned to my PhD lab for 12 months to finish off some experiments. I then obtained a post-doctoral research position at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and have gradually progressed to my current role.
Do you find the skills you learnt during your degree useful and versatile? If so how?
The skills I learnt during my undergraduate degree are used on a weekly basis, as I continue to tutor and lecture in several of the subjects that I studied during my degree. The skills I learnt during my Honours year were essential to enable my research career progression.
Have you had any achievements or news that you'd like to share with the UTS Alumni community?
I was awarded the UTS: Alumni Award for Excellence – Faculty of Science in 2015. I also recently gave the Occasional Address at the 2015 UTS Science graduation (718th congregation).