PhD Candidate - Clinical Immunology, Molecular Biology, Immunology
BBiomedSc. (Hons), The University of Queensland
What got you into science?
I’ve been interested in science since I was a kid, and then more specifically in health science when I was in high school. I’ve always been really intrigued by disease and medicine, so it’s probably no surprise that I’ve ended up in a research lab that studies gene therapy for autoimmune diseases!
What's an average day on the job like for you?
As a PhD student, it doesn’t come easy! I try to be at my desk or in the lab from 8 til 8, and everything else fits around that. I’ve gotten pretty good at a schedule, so each day and time has dedicated tasks (laundry, cooking, exercise). Weekends I’m nearly always at the lab too, but that’s because I love this stuff.
How does your research apply to day-to-day life?
My lab looks at using stem cell technology and gene therapy for correcting autoimmune and allergic disease. We’ve been able to prevent the establishment of, or reversing existing, autoimmune and allergic disease by stem cell transplantation. We transduce stem cells with viruses carrying the correct gene sequence for a protein to be expressed in our patients, so after the transplantation of those stem cells takes place, the immune cells in the body that would normally cause autoimmune or allergic disorders are purged from the body.
Who is your favourite scientist and why?
Right now, probably my supervisor. He’s pretty cool.
What does it mean to be a scientist?
Dedication and love for science and research. You’ve definitely got to work hard at it,
What breakthroughs do you predict will occur in your field over the next 10 years?
A new cure for allergic asthma!
Wonder of Science is a website for kids and teachers, how would you get students excited about biology?
By making it applicable to real life. There are so many cool things in the lab that often have simple and profound relationships to everyday life.