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Stories From the Science Lab - MKW18

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What’s the formula for a career in science?

Sixteen scientists. Six amazing careers. Pull up a chair, meet these unique minds and talk to them about their dreams and achievements. Network with some of Melbourne’s most influential scientists and discover how these experts’ stories can help you with your own career goals.

Dr Amanda Caples BSc Hons PhD GAICD was appointed to the role of Victoria's Lead Scientist in mid-2016. Amanda joined the Victorian public service in 2002, and has recently been appointed Executive Director Science and Technology to drive the state's science agenda. Amanda has led the development of industry sector strategy plans, delivered research-led health initiatives, regulatory and legislative scientific reforms and established international alliances. Amanda has also worked with Commonwealth agencies on national science and innovation policies and programs.

Amy Shepherd is a PhD Student at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, studying Alzheimer's disease. She trains mice with Alzheimer's disease to use specialised touchscreens (like iPads for mice!) to investigate how they learn and remember in a way very similar to how we test human patients. She hopes that this will help us develop better drug treatments for Alzheimer's and other brain diseases.

Angelina Fong is a lecturer and research scientist interested in how the brain controls blood pressure and breathing, and how these systems are intertwined. Having worked in USA, Canada, Brazil and Australia, she has worked on understanding how breathing and blood pressure is controlled in different animal species.

Dr Anna Lintern is a Lecturer in the Water Engineering group within the Civil Engineering at Monash University. She received her PhD in Civil Engineering from Monash University in 2016 and her Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering) and Bachelor of Arts (History and Japanese) from Monash University in 2012. Her research focuses on issues of managing and understanding water quality in rivers, to ensure the protection of water resources for future generations.

PhD candidate Arianna Oddo is part of a team at Monash University, which is testing the safety of products containing silver nanoparticles, found in sport clothing and hygiene products of all kinds. Arianna, originally from Italy, joined Monash after obtaining an MSc in Chemistry in Germany and the UK. She then worked at the European Commission and developed new tests to safeguard the health of millions of consumers across the world.

Dr Bart Kolodziejczyk is a nanoscientist whose portfolio includes two tech start-ups and two not-for-profit organizations. Despite his young age, he has advised the organisations like the UN, NATO and G20 on science, technology, innovation and policy. He and was named one of MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 for his conductive polymers, which reduce the cost of solar panels and are applied in medicine and bio-sensing. He is a founder and Managing Director of Scientists-in-Residence, which aims to build understanding between scientists and community.

Chun Hin Ng is a passionate advocator for the development of clean energy through the use the use of scientific innovation and engineering practicality. He has experience in a wide range of technologies including CO2 capture, hydrogen energy, fuel cells, clean coal, as well as nanotechnology, graphene and new carbon materials. He is currently the chief development engineer at the SupraG Energy start-up company and has overseen pivotal innovations in bringing new energy storage technologies from the laboratory to industry.

Helen Baird uses cutting-edge genetic techniques to explore the evolution, patterns, and vulnerability of biodiversity in the Antarctic. Her doctoral work uncovered several new, cryptic species of crustacean in the deep sea. Since attaining her PhD in 2012, Helena has worked in Indonesia as an Australian Youth Ambassador, at sea on various research expeditions, at the Natural History Museum in Paris, and at the Australian Antarctic Division. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Monash University, where she is using next-generation sequencing to explore how a group of flightless beetles arrived and diversified on remote islands in the sub-Antarctic.

Dr Jonathan Kingsley has dedicated the better part of the past decade working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, government bodies, academic institutes and NGO's across Australia in the public health and community development field. Having worked with culturally diverse Aboriginal communities for over 13 years, and, as a non-Indigenous person, Jonathan always attempts to listen to others to understand different worldviews, identify barriers and resolve issues in a respectful manner to cultivate trust and cooperation.

Dr. Maciej Mazur is a Lecturer at the RMIT University School of Engineering based at the RMIT Centre for Additive Manufacturing (RCAM). His technical expertise is in Additive Manufacturing (AM) (otherwise known as 3D Printing) and for several years he has been involved in a range of research projects focusing on design for AM and optimisation of mechanical systems. His recent work has been on addressing challenges associated with the application of AM techniques to the manufacture of cellular materials, medical implants, tooling equipment, and fluid flow devices, for a range of emerging application areas.

Matthias Hilder has worked in many interdisciplinary areas of science combining fundamental with practical aspects addressing world's challenges and benefiting society. His research topics include heterogeneous catalysis and fundamentals of optoelectronics, plasma technology, surface functionalization, and vapour phase deposition. His latest research focus is on energy materials (e.g. grapheme electrodes, novel electrolytes for high voltage applications) and electrochemical devices/technologies (sodium batteries, air batteries).

Dr Michael 'Mick' Fielding is a Senior Research Fellow and Defence Relations Manager within the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI), at Deakin University. Most recently Mick has been working on a number projects for the Australian Defence Force in the field of robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and unmanned systems. Mick has contributed to successful ARC Linkage proposals, received a number of prestigious awards and acknowledgments, is a named author on multiple international patents and a further 18 peer-reviewed articles, and has secured excess of $6m of competitive funding.

Paul Mason is a Lecturer at the School of Social Sciences, Monash University. Paul is an anthropologist, who works on a range of topics relating to the human body, from the ways we learn new skills to the ways we acquire and experience disease. His research is often overseas, and has worked with arts communities in Indonesia and Brazil, religious minorities in India and Brazil, and people living with infectious disease in Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. Over the last few years, he has been working on tuberculosis, the world's biggest cause of death from an infectious disease.

Richard Reina is an Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Monash University. His research program focuses on understanding how animals (mostly sharks, rays, penguins, turtles and crocodiles) respond to challenges from their environments and from human activity and then using this knowledge to inform better conservation and management.

Ronald Halim works as a scientist in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Melbourne. His expertise is in sustainable fuel, in particular biofuel from microalgae (a similar type of seaweed to the one you find wrapped around sushi roll). His Melbourne team has come out with a simple low-energy method, known as dark-anoxia incubation, which selectively thins microalgal cell wall (and hence reduces the energy needed to break the cells) without introducing degradation to other cellular components.

Dr Yan Ting Choong studies how the angiotensin II, a hormone that regulates blood pressure, modulates brain function. She uses advanced genetic tools to visualise, identify, modify target neurons with high specificity to study their function and influence on blood pressure outcomes. She has collaborated with Monash researchers to develop the scientific basis for the male contraceptive pill. She is the co-founder of Eira Biotechnology, drug delivery platform for the brain. She is passionate about mentoring women in STEM and entrepreneurship.

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