The Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS), the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering’s (ATSE) industry engagement initiative, is a REDI partner to drive workforce growth in Australia.
This partnership falls under MTPConnect’s $32 million Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative made possible by the Medical Research Future Fund, providing industry experiences and skills development for early and mid-career researchers, clinicians and innovators to develop an industry-ready workforce keeping pace with the demands of a rapidly changing sector.
REDI Mentees 2021-22
As part of the REDI Connect program with IMNIS, REDI mentees are doing research in STEM fields with high job-growth potential and will participate in additional professional development and networking opportunities through IMNIS.
Pia is a PhD candidate within the Department of Neuroscience at Monash University’s Central Clinical School. Her research focuses on characterising the relationship between clinical, genomic and environmental factors in multiple sclerosis. Specifically, she is aiming to identify pharmacogenomic and epigenetic prognostic biomarkers. Her research has the potential to inform the development of prognostic and therapeutic biomarkers that improve personalised disease management and outcomes for people with multiple sclerosis.
As Vice President of her school’s Graduate Research Student Committee, Pia advocates for graduate research students. In this role, she is passionate about reducing anxiety about post-PhD job prospects by improving the visibility of industry careers through internships and programs like IMNIS. Pia is also active in student societies relating to both brain and bioinformatics research, with Students of Brain Research (SOBR) and Australian Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Student Society (COMBINE). As her mentors have played an integral part in her early career, Pia also formally and informally mentors third year Monash BSc and Honours students to pass on the insights she has received and gained to date.
Jack Chan is a PhD candidate at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the University of Melbourne. He is also a current recipient of the Peter MacCallum Foundation Robert Kirby Postgraduate Award. Jack’s work focuses on improving chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy by enhancing T cell stemness and persistence. CAR T cells are a specialised form of adoptive immunotherapy that involves genetically modifying patient T cells to recognise specified cancer antigens. Whilst CAR T cells have had remarkable efficacy in some haematological malignancies, challenges remain in the treatment of solid tumours. In his research, Jack aims to improve the persistence and stem-like characteristics of CAR T cells to improve their long-term efficacy in solid tumours and hopefully one day, to improve outcomes in cancer patients. In parallel to his research, Jack is also an avid science communicator, public advocate and film production enthusiast. He is a co-host of the science comedy podcast, the Pear Review Club and has worked on several art-science projects, including a current piece for the upcoming Cancer ARt Gallery by Excite Science. Following completion of his PhD, Jack hopes to combine his love for clinical research, communications and creation by transitioning into a role in field medical affairs.
Silvia is a PhD candidate at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, working on the development of antibacterial coatings for 3D printed biomaterial implants for breast reconstruction. Prior to her PhD, Silvia obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at the National University of Colombia and then moved to Germany to complete a Master of Science in Molecular Bioengineering at the Technische Universität Dresden. During her time in Germany, Silvia became fascinated with the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, which motivated her to work in two different research groups, on the development of hydrogel systems for drug delivery, in vitro breast cancer models and cartilage regeneration. Silvia is now working at the intersection of material science and regenerative medicine, looking for new biomaterial strategies that effectively translate the prevention of biofilm-related infections on implant surfaces while promoting correct implant integration and tissue regeneration. In addition to Silvia’s interest in research, Silvia works as a QUT STEM ambassador inspiring students from under-represented school groups to go to university and build a career in STEM fields.
Elizabeth is a PhD candidate with RMIT University, where she graduated with a bachelor of biomedical engineering. Elizabeth has developed a keen interest in the field of tissue engineering through a research collaboration between RMIT and ACMD, a lab focused on 3D bioprinting and translational medical research. Her PhD is in the topic of skin engineering, where she is exploring ways to biofabricate human skin in a laboratory dish. Biofabricated human skin could be used for potential drug and cosmetic testing, which is important as historically animal models have been used in this way so this platform could reduce animal model testing. Elizabeth’s project aims to incorporate relevant cell types in their niche environments to increase the clinical significance of the in vitro skin model. This requires a deviation of the traditional engineering mindset as the relationship cell biology and material science is placed at the forefront of the project.
Bill attained a Bachelor of Medical Biotechnology (Hons) from UNSW and a Certificate 3 in Business Management from TTG in 2017. Currently, he is a 2nd year Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. His current research focuses on advanced biofabrication strategies of 3D bioprinting, microfluidics and ultrasonic cellular patterning for use in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Bill has held roles as a research assistant in biomaterials development of neuronal scaffolds for tissue engineering at UNSW between 2017-2019 and a business development consultant at Rokit Healthcare from 2019-2020. Currently, he is engaged as a community manager for Melbourne at 3D Heals since 2019, involved with 3D printing consultancy, event management, and technical writing. In 2020, he joined the Australian Bioprinting Workshop for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine team as an event organizer. He is committed to fostering multi-disciplinary collaboration between academia and industry to help translate research findings from the bench to bedside.
Rebecca is a current PhD Candidate at Flinders University investigating information-flow within healthcare. Rebecca is an Edith Cowan University graduate with a Bachelor of Counter Terrorism, Security and Intelligence majoring in Security Management and Bachelor of Science (Security) Honours. Rebecca was recently employed as Health & Wellbeing Consultant for PWC. Rebecca has extensive experience in research, problem and incident management and IT support. Rebecca has the career goals of developing skills and expertise in the areas of health informatics, big data, information security and problem management.
Yuqing is a third year PhD student at the Centre for Biomedical Technologies (CBT), Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Before starting her PhD in Biomedical Engineering (stem cell and tissue engineering), she completed a Bachelor of Science- Chemistry at Shandong University, China, and a Master of Biotechnology at the University of Queensland. Her education benefited her a lot, not only in knowledge and lab skills, but also in developing ideas and linking between disciplines. She is passionate about working in an interdisciplinary field, with the inner drive to make some changes to the real world. Currently her research focuses on the impact of inorganic ions on bone modelling/remodeling process, and how it inspires future inorganic biomaterial design for bone regeneration.
Fiza is a PhD candidate at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) under the Faculty
of Engineering and IT. She is extremely passionate about mental health and machine learning. Through her research, she aims to use modern day technologies to promote a better quality of life.
Fiza completed her Bachelor of Information Technology with Honors in 2015, and she is now doing a PhD in Machine Learning. She worked as a Web Developer for almost three years prior to starting her post graduate education. Her PhD project investigates the use of mobile apps, machine learning and smart devices – particularly fitness trackers, to evaluate user mental health. Her current focus is to integrate these technologies to reduce dependence on others and aid in the mental ageing process for geriatric users that live alone. Her research has the added potential to further assist users with speech impediments, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or autism in bettering their
mental health. As a researcher, Fiza’s career goal is to work within the digital health
sector, particularly focusing on the ageing generation. She is currently based at the
Games Studio at UTS.
Kallyanashis has more than 5 years of professional experience as a system analyst and in business development in the textile industry. Kallyanashis implemented lean manufacturing strategies, statistical process control and quality assurance and an entrepreneur resource planning system. He completed his Master’s in regenerative medicine to repair damaged bone in large segmental bone defect using clinically transplantable bone implants and bone cement. His PhD study at Monash University is in the Women’s Health project for developing a novel technology for treating Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) to replace banned transvaginal mesh. In these academic pursuits Kallyanashis has gained around 5 years of experience in nanotechnology and additive manufacturing and 3 years in clinical science.
Kallyanashis has worked in large interdisciplinary teams involving material scientists, gynaecologists and clinicians to synthesize alternative therapeutics with high translational potential. The interdisciplinary skill set along with industrial experience enables the translational research that can be taken from the lab bench to the clinic with a social/health impact. Given his research in tissue engineering/regenerative medicine, Kallyanashis believes that the leading role in this field needs a highly interdisciplinary approach to solve critical health problems for the aged population.
Kallyanashis has a proven record of developing alternative treatments using state-of-the-art tissue engineering skills. He has synthesised 7 different tissue-engineered templates namely 3D Melt electrospun scaffolds, 3D bioprinted construct, hydrogel-based scaffolds, injectable bone cement, core-shell spongy scaffolds and micro channel granules and its surface functionalisation and solution electrospun mat and microsphere fabrication using electrospinning.
Dion is a graduate of the Bachelor of Science (Advanced) with a double major in chemistry from The University of Adelaide. He then completed a Master of Philosophy at The University of Adelaide in 2019 which focused on probing the binding preferences of the proteasome with traditional and photoswitchable small-molecule inhibitors based on the multiple myeloma treatment Bortezomib. For his work, he was awarded the Dean’s Commendation for Master by Research Thesis Excellence.
Dion began a PhD at The University of Adelaide in 2020 supervised by Prof Andrew Abell & Dr Thomas Avery. His research involves the development of a small-molecule drug with an inherent ability to target tissues under oxidative stress. The aim is for this drug to be used to treat diseases of oxidative stress, such as neuropathic pain, osteoarthritis and spinal cord injury, with fewer side effects and no risk of addiction. He is a listed inventor on a patent covering this technology and has been involved in pitching to, and communicating with, potential investors from the pharmaceutical industry and venture capital firms.
Dion is passionate about participating in interdisciplinary research with a goal of commercial outcomes and academia-industry collaborations and as such is a member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) and Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS). He is keen to build his skills for a potential career in industry where he can also utilise his expertise on medicinal chemistry.