Student opportunities at GRIDD

GRIDD PhD and Masters students are provided with a range of opportunities to enable them to develop strong professional and personal attributes alongside outstanding research skills.

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Benjamin Evert

Ben is working with Professor Bernd Rehm at the Centre for Cell Factories and Biopolymers on a PhD focusing on an innovative biomaterials platform technology that can provide break-through solutions for drug screening and vaccines. Ben says:

“I chose to pursue a PhD here at the Institute because I was extremely fascinated by the research that GRIDD undertakes. The research that goes on here is not only extremely cutting edge but also very diverse. My experience here has left me feeling valued and welcomed as everyone here is so friendly and supportive, you really feel like part of a community. The institute is a great place to develop my skills and career and I look forward to spending more time here in the future.”

Eden Little

Eden is working within a multidisciplinary team of Parkinson’s Disease researchers, under the supervision of Associate Professors Yun Feng and Stephen Wood and Professor George Mellick. Her project evaluates bioactive natural products from traditional Chinese medicines in alpha-synuclein-targeted drug screening. Eden says:

“I first came to GRIDD as an undergraduate student to conduct 8 weeks of summer research, supported by the Kungullanji Research Program. I conducted a chemical investigation of an Aboriginal bush medicine within the Feng research group. It was very rewarding, so much so, that it ignited my love for natural product chemistry. After my Bachelor of Science, I returned to GRIDD for a Master of Science in Medicinal Chemistry. The institute is fantastic at fostering multidisciplinary collaboration. As my project incorporates elements of both chemistry and biology, I have the opportunity to expand my horizons and develop new skills every day.”

Eva Hesping

Eva works with Professor Kathy Andrews, a recognised expert in infectious diseases. Eva’s project focuses on the function of histone deacetylase proteins in malaria and could one day lead to discovering novel malaria drugs. Eva says:

“I first came to GRIDD on a 3 month internship as part of my Master’s program in Germany and then returned for my PhD the following year. The main factor that drew me back was the opportunity to work with Kathy. It’s not just her ability to lead us in our scientific work, she is really caring and calls herself “our mum in the Southern hemisphere”. My project combines both biology, which I am doing at GRIDD, and chemistry, which I will be doing back in Germany in the group where I was working before. This exciting international collaboration is supported by an Australia-Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme travel award that was awarded to myself, Kathy and my Associate Supervisor in Germany.”

William Miao

William is part of Associate Professor Yun Feng’s group, specialising in Traditional Chinese Medicine. His project investigates the underlying mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease using traditional Chinese herbal medicines as molecular probes. This will help better understand the biology of this most challenging disease and could lead to new drugs and diagnostics. William says:

"For over 15 years, I worked as a bench chemist in a number of pharmaceutical companies in Sydney and Brisbane. Over time, the work became quite routine and in 2016 I decided to take on a new challenge – a PhD program at GRIDD. Leaving a secure career was a big step but I am happy to be in this much more engaging environment. I am hoping to take my PhD experience into a teaching career or a more entrepreneurial career in pharmaceuticals industry. The best thing about GRIDD is its very collaborative culture: students can work on both chemistry and biology aspects opening ways to multidisciplinary research for early drug discovery.”

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