Breon was that kid who used to pull something apart to see how it worked – much to the dismay of his parents! Now he is a 34-year-old engineer/scientist/father with a head full of ideas and a burning desire to improve the quality of healthcare through understanding biology.
His journey to this point is not a traditional one. During high school he wanted to be an animator – he loved to design things that people had never seen before. This eventually morphed into a graphic and web design career as creative expression on the internet was in high demand at the time. He soon found himself frustrated that developers were not accurately capturing his designs (every pixel had its purpose!). He then learned to code and built them himself, soon finding the joy in solving computational problems. This would evolve throughout his decade long web career eventually becoming a key focus.
This joy eventually triggered a career change as Breon felt he could apply himself to more challenging and meaningful projects. Therefore, during his time in web, he enrolled at the University of Melbourne and received a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering. After this he started a graduate program at GSK, but soon found himself missing the thrill of research. Recognising that he departed GSK to begin a PhD in Cancer Bioinformatics.
Breon’s PhD is broad – in short, he develops methods to better understand the complex nature of cancer transcriptomes. This has seen him develop tools that apply machine learning for subtype classification, visualise complex genomic events, and explore the bleeding edge of sequencing technologies. After the PhD he hopes to continue unravelling the complexities of our biology in the context of healthcare. Naturally, such pursuits are personally exciting but also essential for a world where personalised medicine is a reality.