Jessica Robinson, IMNIS mentee in the 2018 MedTech-Pharma program in VIC (University of Melbourne)

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science with a major in Cell and Molecular Biology at Deakin University. Graduating with Distinction in 2014, I also participated in the Dean’s Scholars Program, an undergraduate scholarship program. During my undergraduate degree, I was invited to join the Deakin University chapter of the Golden Key international honours society.

In the final semester of my undergraduate, I undertook a work experience placement in the Chromosome Research laboratory at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in the Royal Children’s Hospital, under the supervision of Dr Paul Kalitsis.

I remained with the Chromosome Research laboratory to complete my Honours in Science, First Class, in conjunction with the University of Melbourne, under the supervision of Drs Paul Kalitsis and Jeff Mann. This research was focused on characterising two mouse models with a fluorescent reporter gene inserted on the male Y chromosome.

Currently, I am completing my PhD through the University of Melbourne Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science in the Chromosome Research laboratory at MCRI. My project focuses on examining the chromosomal and gene expression changes in a mouse strain that experiences a slight defect in its male sex development pathway.

I am pleased to be participating in the 2018 Victorian IMNIS MedTech-Pharma program, as my experience in STEM to date has been in academic settings, and I am keen to develop knowledge of possible pathways in industry post-PhD.

Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?

The primary reason is to gain exposure to the industry side of STEM, and to explore the possible pathways that may facilitate movement from academia to industry once I complete my PhD.

What is the most important aspect of this professional relationship to you?

The most important aspect of this relationship to me is the valuable outside perspective and positivity I receive from my mentor, Megan Morrison. What I find especially useful is perspective that is so helpful, not only to completing my current degrees, but also for a life post-PhD.

What do you hope your mentor can help you achieve and what is the best piece of advice you have received so far?

I hope that my mentor can help me develop a better sense of my career trajectory and skillsets outside the arena of academia, and help me see possible paths to reaching my goals.

The best piece of advice so far is to not limit my perception of my skills to just my working/academic life, as the skills I have developed and demonstrated in my personal life also have value.

What are the top 3 things you hope to learn through the IMNIS program?

  1. Enhancing my understanding the biomedical science industry
  2. Expanding my ability to convey my skills and strengths, both in written form and in interviews
  3. Better comprehension of the needs of industry

What is the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you so far?

So far, the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program has been building this relationship with my mentor. It is always a wonderful experience to have a connection with someone who is so positive and is interested in your future, especially as I approach the big life change that will come with the end of my degree.