My dad was my high school physics teacher, so growing up I really liked mathematics and physics . But when I left senior high school, it was hard for me to decide between physics and fine art. I tried hard in order to find a combined degree, and We really wanted to do a degree in painting, but somehow, I actually ended up in a science program at the Australian National University in Canberra.
By the end of the bachelor’s level, I had enough of pure science, and therefore I enrolled in a Master’s degree within painting conservation at the University associated with Melbourne. My partner and i thought it would be a good blend between science plus art.
This experience led to be able to a PhD using fluorescence spectroscopy for you to study the particular pigments employed throughout typically the history of artwork. This type of analysis allowed us to see how a painting was made and aid in the authentication regarding artwork.
Near this end involving my PhD, I went to the workshop at the University of New England inside Armidale (NSW) on biological applications connected with fluorescence, just because it was centred around fluorescence spectroscopy. Professor Enrico Gratton , a world leader in biophysics, was lecturing and he presented on how you could do dynamic measurements with fluorescence throughout a living cell.
My spouse and i liked exactly how everything became much more complicated by the fact that often the sample has been alive. I thought that produced things a lot more interesting and so I requested a new postdoctoral research position (postdoc) with him. Initially, he said, “no, because you’ve never used a microscope”, but added that if I was really keen, I just could join his lab as some sort of junior specialist. He gave me a little research project as a test, and since it proceeded to go well, and I got a good paper quite quickly out of that, this individual let me personally become a postdoc.
After my postdoc I came back to help Australia, first to UNSW in 2013 and then in 2017 I moved to your University for Melbourne.
In our lab around the School of Physics, we have a confocal microscope coupled to hardware capable of fluorescence lifetime imaging and an orbital tracking unit. Using this system, we can look at protein-protein interactions on moving objects inside living cells , such as endosomes, DNA double-strand breaks, or the nuclear pore complex.
We also just got your light sheet microscope with single molecule sensitivity that will allow us to look at fast-time intracellular protein trafficking events throughout the cell.
The microscopy methods that we are developing are helping all of us to better understand how intracellular architecture is organised and the impact it has on protein transport.
This enables cell biologists and medical researchers to interrogate different types of proteins dynamics that were previously invisible. These dynamics could include how DNA repair factors arrive from a GENETICS double-strand break to protect genome integrity in addition to even just how viruses hijack intracellular pathways to promote their replication.
In the long term, I hope that we can uncover fundamental insights into precisely how the spatiotemporal organisation of the cell nucleus regulates genome function and even DNA target search. This knowledge may be important on processes like stem cell differentiation together with cancer development.
The data that we acquire looks like noise and is very pixelated, so we’d never win an fine art competition. But I do love making figures for manuscripts. My sister makes prints for fashion designers so we were thinking it would be cool to use some of the microscopy images or data outputs all of us generate as a print for clothing.
Within 2022 When i won the exact Women during Science Emerging Researcher (WISER) award with regard to Mathematical and additionally Physical Sciences, allowing myself to advocate and advertise biophysics in Australia. I sometimes lose track of the long-term significance about why I am exploring the development of a particular method of evaluation or phenomenon in the cellular. And occasionally you can go down obscure pathways, particularly in fundamental research.
I such as outreach because people who are not in technology always ask you why you’re doing certain things and you’re forced to reflect on the big picture in why you are doing the research that you’re performing
I think it’s most important regarding young scientists to be resilient. Everybody has been rejected at multiple points throughout their career, but this is not so obvious from the particular outside. For example , just prior to typically the fluorescence spectroscopy workshop for Armidale I had been shortlisted for a conservation scientist position in the National Gallery of Art in Washington , but in the end, I didn’t get it not to mention I had been very disappointed.
Yet then I met Enrico, and along with the support of our partner (now husband), I had the chance to perform a postdoc together with him through California, which was one of the best experiences associated with my life. So, I think being open-minded to opportunities as they present themselves and not giving up is key.
A lot of students are worried about their career trajectory, but I think you shouldn’t be afraid to change your field a little and take an indirect path. It’s more important in order to remain interested in your industry than to be able to continue begrudgingly.
And maybe you will have to do a bit of extra work to retrain in a new discipline, but even then, it’s still worthwhile. Skills a person have developed in your previous niche will always cross over.
– As told to James Carroll and Jeongoh Park, Science Masters students at the University of Melbourne whose studies include Science Communication .
Banner: Fluorescence imaging of live cells. Picture: Supplied