Sebastian Quezada, PhD student and IMNIS Mentee in the 2017 MedTech-Pharma program – Monash University (VIC) [Image: Samuel Ponce Photography]

“[The most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program is] the sincere and open conversation I can have with my mentor about my worries, my goals and where I would like to go from here.”

My name is Sebastian Quezada, and I am a Biotechnology Engineer studying a translational science PhD at Monash University. Currently I am a part of the IMNIS MedTech-Pharma program in Victoria. I first started working in designing and testing a vaccine for veterinary purposes as part of my Master of Science degree, and then moved into Biomedicine research focusing on the lung during oxygen deprivation. To further develop my career, I accepted the opportunity to come to Australia to undertake my PhD in biomedical sciences, focusing on brain development during pregnancy. Ever since the beginning, I discovered how stimulating innovation and invention can be, and I think it is even more so in science and technology. Thinking about how to design and implement new ways to solve problems is where I have the most fun. I believe there is always a better and more efficient way to do things, and an innovative solution for nearly any problem. After completing my PhD, I plan to explore the opportunities of collaborative innovation in science and technology on a local, national, and international level.

Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?

I enrolled in this program with the hope of getting more in touch with people related to the industry, to have a different perspective on how should I be focusing my career if I plan to engage with the industry and see if there are ways to take my drive for innovation and problem-solving approaches to a new level.

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

I believe the most important aspect of this program is the opportunity to directly ask a mentor who is engaged with the industry how things work from the inside, how I can manage to scope my career and how to make myself more attractive to people who enjoy innovation as much as I do.

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 my mentor helps me to understand how to make myself be perceived not just as a prospective employee, but as a valuable intellectual asset for a team of like-minded people collaboratively working together to solve problems. Probably the best piece of advice I have received so far has been understanding that I need to see myself not as an employee, but as a one-man business in which someone else will be investing so we both can cooperate to solve the problem at hand.   

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

  • How to make myself an attractive asset for like-minded people
  • How to pitch my ideas to these people in an interesting and engaging way
  • How to improve my networking skills

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

The sincere and open conversation I can have with my mentor about my worries, my goals and where I would like to go from here.