PhD in Molecular Parasitology, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin
ARC Research Fellow
I am undertaking research as part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA). My project is ‘A porcine model to provide new insights on scabies immunopathology’. I also undertake NHMRC funded research related to this work, plus a couple of smaller research projects. In my spare time, I undertake some sessional teaching in immunology and pathophysiology within the faculty.
My research mostly focuses on developing animal models for scabies, a neglected disease that has been traditionally difficult to study. It's exciting to be part of bringing the work into a ‘new era’ and seeing rapid progress in this field of study.
Fellowship support to continue my research full time is ideal. Having recently moved to the Sunshine Coast with my family, I was also excited about being able to do my research in such a coveted lifestyle location!
Did you study overseas as part of your degree?
During my PhD, I spent several months in Montreal, Canada in the laboratory of one of our collaborators to learn new techniques.
Did you access financial support?
Yes, I was always encouraged by my supervisors and mentors to apply for scholarships and prizes it is great for building your CV. I started by obtaining an undergraduate research scholarship in my third year to undertake a SRP style project. This led to an honours scholarship, then a PhD scholarship. I was also lucky to win a couple of awards for my research in the Northern Territory due to strong support from my supervisors.
The DECRA scheme was introduced by the ARC, as a way of providing enhanced research and teaching/research pathways to early career scientists. I was very fortunate to receive an award in the first year the scheme was introduced, with a success rate of only 13 percent.
Advice for others considering research:
Pursuing a career in research is a difficult pathway, but immensely rewarding. It is important to lay the groundwork and start building a strong research track record from the earliest opportunity, as funding is limited and very competitive.