Bo Yun, PhD student and IMNIS mentee in the MedTech-Pharma Pilot 2016 – Monash University (VIC) [Image: Rebecca Taylor Photography]

“This [IMNIS] is a really unique opportunity where you will get to meet the best of the best experts and shouldn’t be taken for granted – the more you take initiative, the more you will get out of it”

I undertook my PhD in Pharmaceutics at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University and my project focused on the ‘last-resort’ antibiotic polymyxins – particularly on the mechanisms of polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity. My PhD has been very interdisciplinary, starting as an organic chemistry project, but going on to span many areas – including cellular and molecular biology, as well as systems biology. I have published several papers in well-regarded journals in the field. I’ve also presented at both national and international conferences with my two most memorable experiences being ComBio2016 in Brisbane – for which I received a travel award and an award for excellence in poster presentation – and the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy held in Washington, DC: my first trip to the United States! In addition to the calibre of academics and their research at these conferences being incredibly awe-inspiring, these trips also kick-started my wanderlust and I hope to travel around and see a lot more of the world in the future.

I have been exploring opportunities in research commercialisation and technology transfer while writing up my thesis, and have recently been offered position as a Business Development Officer at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. I am elated to dive into this next stage of my career at the science-business interface and to see what the future holds!

Why did you participate in the IMNIS program?

The focus of my PhD was very academic and I was at a stage of my candidature where I was actively thinking about the future and future career prospects. Coming from a university, there was a lot of guidance regarding the career development for an academic but I’ve always been more interested in what lies out there in the industry, and IMNIS was a great opportunity to explore this. I also wanted to connect with and receive guidance from an expert who was well-versed in navigating the science industry.

What was the most important aspect of this professional relationship for you?

My mentor is very highly regarded in her field with years of experience and her insights into the industry have been invaluable to me. Her support has been continuous throughout my journey from first mulling over career choices, all the way through to applying for job openings. Her guidance gave me a lot of confidence and direction, and played a huge role in the success of my job search.

How often did you meet with your mentor and did you prepare for these meetings? What was the best piece of advice you received?

We met every month or two and also kept in contact via email in between. For our first meeting, I did prepare a lot of questions in advance and we also set some mini-goals for the next meeting.

As for the best advice, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one – but one of the best pieces of advice that has stuck with me is to always be deliberate in what I do and to always think ahead! I think it is something which sounds simple but very, very helpful when put into practice.

Would you recommend participating in the IMNIS program to your peers?

Most definitely, especially for any graduate students who have an interest in the field outside of academia. This is a really unique opportunity where you will get to meet the best of the best experts and shouldn’t be taken for granted – the more you take initiative, the more you will get out of it.

What was the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you?

Having a mentor I can always go to for advice and who is a great role-model. I’ve always been interested in the industry and through our mentoring relationship she’s helped me pinpoint what fields I’m most interested in and opened up her networks to me. I’ve gained a lot of insight into the science industry and the challenges and rewards that come with it.