Sepideh Valimehr, mentee in the 2019 MedTech-Pharma program in VIC (The University of Melbourne)

I am Sepideh Valimehr, I received my bachelor degree in cell and molecular biology from Tehran University in 2009 and my master’s degree in cell and molecular biology from the National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in 2012 in Iran. After graduation, due to my knowledge and experience I was hired as a research assistant at the National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology from 2012-2014. I worked on different projects such as construction knockout hemophilia A mouse, developing of the method for isolation of nucleic acids and genes from eukaryote and prokaryote cells using Graphene nanoplatelets. I was an organizer and instructor of genetic engineering techniques courses from 2015-2016. I organized and coordinated 30 workshops of ~3 days each, ~15-20 students per workshops. I taught the theory and organized the practical sessions for each workshop, covering subjects in Molecular and Cell Biology. I extended my knowledge in molecular and cell biology as a research assistant and workshop organizer.

I was always interested in understanding how drugs target specifically and how we can understand the structural changes of the target molecule in interaction with drug. So I decided to move to Australia to study my PhD and accomplish my life long ambitions, research in one of the high ranking universities in the world to have access to the best research equipment which helps me to discover something new and change human life and health. I am in the Biochemistry and Molecular biology department of University of Melbourne and our lab is located at Bio21 institute. My project is about understanding the molecular mechanism of the AAA ATPase p97 which is a target for cancer therapy by studying the structural changes of this protein in interaction with other proteins and some inhibitors. To understand the structural changes I use cryo-EM which is the best technique in structural biology and it greatly revolutionised the field.

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