Sir William Dunn School of Pathology
Tell us a bit about your role
My primary role, as a Postdoctoral Researcher, is to work within a team to conduct experiments, analyse data and communicate our findings to the wider community. Particularly, I’m using cutting edge technology to “see” the molecular detail of the bacterial flagellum, a rotary whip-like nanostructure that allows bacteria to move.
I am Australian and completed my undergraduate studies and PhD at The University of Queensland. As a first-generation academic, I never imagined that I would work at the University of Oxford, but it came about largely because of two other female scientists, my PhD supervisor, Professor Jenny Martin, and my current supervisor, Professor Susan Lea. Jenny was very good at nudging me out of my comfort zone and, together with Susan, arranged for me to spend 6 months of my PhD working in the Dunn School. This was quite a big deal for me, as at the time I’d never left Australia, but I loved those 6 months, and I applied for a postdoctoral researcher position in Susan’s lab.
Apart from contributing to research, I have also been Chair of the Dunn School Anti-Bullying Working Group and a member of the departmental Athena Swan committee and Postdoc Association.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
I do love the thrill of discovering something new, but for me, the most meaningful part of my job is connecting with other people. Whether that be over a new idea for an experiment, a trashy TV show or solving the problems in research culture.
Can you tell us about something you've done, contributed to that you're most proud of?
I am still pretty proud of completing my PhD, which was two years ago now, but recently, I have been most proud of the work I’ve been doing with people in the Dunn School Anti-Bullying Working Group. I think raising awareness and promoting discussion about bullying and harassment issues is really important.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
I’d really like to see some serious action taken to improve research culture. Particularly, I’d like to see a shift away from the “publish or perish” mindset and a greater focus on developing well-rounded research leaders who truly value equity, diversity and inclusion.