A quick Q&A with Amanda Miotto

Amanda Miotto, eResearch Support Specialist, discusses her role with eResearch, the various services she provides and how eResearch Services can help you with your research.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Computers were always really fun and interesting to me, so I always knew I wanted to do something with computers. I discovered genetics at high school, which I found fascinating, so when I heard about Bioinformatics it was a natural fit! 

2. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device? 
Pinterest, Gmail and Google Keep.

3. We hear you have quite the tea collection. Can you give us your 5 top teas? 

  1. 1. Lemon Earl Gray
  2. 2. Coffee (coffee beans count as tea, don’t they?)
  3. 3. Peppermint
  4. 4. Blackcurrent
  5. 5. Irish Cream Tea

4. You work in eResearch Services, can you tell us a bit about what your department does? 
We do a variety of things, all focused on providing researchers with the technology they need for their research. We have a number of existing services for our research community, from providing surveys to compute power. We also identify and develop new solutions for unique research needs. The work is extremely varied and always new and exciting.

5. What do you do in your role as an eResearch Support Specialist? 
My role is diverse and constantly evolving. Currently, my focus is on:

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
I love that the work we do is always diverse and challenging, and I love helping researchers learn about technology and seeing their excitement about the possibilities technology opens up for them. 

7. You’re currently working with QCIF. How does QCIF help people further their research through use of digital technology?
QCIF is a group of Queensland Universities supported by NCRIS and pared with national teams such as ANDS, NeCTAR and RDS. It provides compute power, cloud compute and a number of other services to researchers at Queensland Universities.

Through QCIF, we can facilitate High Performance Computing (HPC) access, access to virtual machines, virtual labs such as BCCVL and help you learn about these services. They also sponsor Research Bazaar Brisbane.

8. You’re organising ResBaz, which starts today! What is ResBaz?
Research Bazaar Brisbane (ResBaz) is a collection of workshops, presentations, networking events and information stalls to upskill researchers in technology. This conference is open to any researcher in Queensland at low cost ($33) and is run by a strong community of volunteers from all the universities and institutes around Queensland. We have workshops for researchers in the fields of genomics, engineering, humanities, environment and more. 

This is the third year a ResBaz event has run in Brisbane, and this year Griffith is hosting the conference!

9. Can you tell us about the Hacky Hour and Software Carpentry classes you run?
Well, to start, both are free!

Software Carpentry are free workshops, aimed at researchers who have never coded before, to introduce data science skills using programming languages including R and Python.

Hacky Hour is a fortnightly catchup—with free coffee!—to help people further develop these skills, or to ask about data science solutions. We also help with data storage, learning about larger computer power such as High Performance Computing (HPC) and resources available for their discipline.

10. What wise advice do you have for new researchers or young academics?
It’s totally okay not to know something. If you haven’t heard of the impostor syndrome, go check it out. Everyone has things they do and don’t know about, especially when it comes to technology. Come ask us all the questions at Hacky Hour!

11. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
The librarians! They are excellent. Definitely use them, they are incredibly knowledgable.

12. Can you give us your best research tip?
Don’t be afraid to challenge the statement ‘but this is the way we’ve always done it’. There are new technologies emerging every day that can accelerate the way you work.


A quick Q&A with Dr Hamid Shobeiri Nejad

Dr Hamid Shobeiri Nejad

Doctor Hamid Shobeiri Nejad, mathematics and statistics lecturer, discusses his career, research tips and the beauty of statistics.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a politician, in particular, a planning minister. I agree, it does sound a little strange. When I was at university, I studied in two places at the same time, mechanical engineering at one university and economics at another. During those years, I had the chance to do many things such as working for small to large-scale companies. Then for my Masters, I was able to continue both engineering and finance in a single subject, which was in some ways, a mix of industrial engineering and management. When doing my PhD, I became a specialist in risk assessment. 

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
I have had much experience in doing a variety of things. These range from drawing cartoons for a school magazine to working in the large-scale industry. One of the jobs I had during my university years was in the oil industry as a junior in the project management and planning section. I had to provide reports on progress of the project. This was the first job in my life that really taught me teamwork. The reports that I had to provide were the result of the work of so many people. I think that it was taking my job seriously and working keenly, that I learnt the meaning of responsibility.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Gmail, BBC News, SUDOKU.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
I would invite the following great people to my dinner party. I know it is impossible, but it would be by far my best dinner party:

  • Francis Ford Coppola (American film director)
  • David Christian (Australian historian and scholar, president of the International Big History Association)
  • Bernie Sanders (American politician, US Senator)
  • Hossein Nasr (philosopher, professor emeritus, George Washington University)
  • Pelé (Brazilian retired professional footballer)

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
Homer Simpson. He is so real.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
I can name two things:

  • Teaching. I love teaching and enjoy every single minute of it when explaining a mathematics or statistics problem to students.
  • Working with great people at Griffith University.

7. What sparked your interest in statistics and mathematics?
It gives you the power to explain problems in the world through the language of mathematics and statistics. You can justify the reason behind any phenomenon. When chaotic situations are simulated by mathematics, when loss and recovery and even social behaviour due to natural or human-made means can be assessed by probability theory and… you cannot help yourself but to simply love mathematics and statistics.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
 In 5 years time, I still see myself enjoying teaching at Griffith. Until then, I also aim to have translated a few books.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
I feel that working and communicating with different individuals from different backgrounds and cultures, whether it be students or fellow colleagues, has definitely been the highlight. Being able to teach in a way that everyone enjoys, and to get good feedback, is very rewarding.

10. Tell us about a project/research you are working on at the moment.
I recently consulted an industrial project in data analysis. At the moment, besides teaching, I am helping a medical research student in data gathering process and statistical analysis. I am also reading and translating a philosophy/history book.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers or young academics?
Be prepared for your research and expect that it will be very challenging. You will definitely experience ups and downs; days that are promising and some that are not. Sometimes, you cannot find any solution and find yourself returning to the starting point after a few months of hard work. But, it is most important that you do not give up. Know that it will soon be over and you will see the result. Do not forget this.

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
I believe the online access to journals is the best resource. However, the Griffith library itself is also very unique. It has friendly staff and a great collection of hard copy books. I have borrowed and used many books myself; even the books that I thought I would not easily find anywhere.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?

  • When reading a journal paper, write a note for yourself, cite with EndNote and store in OneNote.
  • Learn at least one statistical software. I recommend R.
  • Never miss the opportunity to present your research. Do not be afraid of these two things, 1. I have not done enough and 2. I will be criticised.

Malaria researcher profiles

World Malaria Day is held on April 25 every year. On this day we recognise the ongoing global fight towards the prevention and ultimate elimination of malaria, a disease which claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year.

We’ve asked two Griffith researchers to tell us why they are passionate about combating the malaria parasite–an incredibly complex, clever organism which is increasingly developing drug resistance–as well as a little bit about themselves! 

Gill Fisher

Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery Research Fellow Dr Gill Fisher tells us about the work she is doing to help discover innovative new drugs to treat malaria and gives us her top three research tips.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was young I always dreamed of being a scientist, however life took on another path for me initially. After 15 years as a pet shop owner and mother, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a scientist. In 2004, I enrolled as a mature age student in a Bachelor of Forensic Science degree at Griffith University. This was quite an exciting, but also daunting time, as I had not studied for at least 25 years and was by far the oldest person in my course. To my surprise I excelled and went on to do postgraduate studies which was where I discovered my passion for research and my love of parasitology.

2. What’s the best thing about your current role?
The best thing about my current role is that I get to spend most of my time in the laboratory discovering new tools to help discover new drugs for malaria, a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of young African children every year. As a mother of two and grandmother of four, I can only imagine what it is like to lose a child to such a devastating disease. I only hope that in my lifetime I can make a difference through my research to aid in the global fight to try and eradicate malaria.

3. Your research focuses on investigating new chemical classes of drugs to combat malaria parasite resistance, can you tell us about the challenges you’re currently facing?
One of the challenges we face in the area of malaria drug discovery is increasing drug resistance. Over time malaria parasites have developed resistance to all of our currently used antimalarial drugs. Additionally, the majority of the new drugs under development belong to the same chemical classes as our currently used drugs. This means that these new drugs potentially have a limited lifespan in the clinic, as it is likely that parasites will develop resistance rapidly. This is why my research focus is the identification of new chemical classes of antimalarials to try to delay the onset of parasite resistance. In addition to this, I am also interested in finding novel and selective malaria parasite drug targets as starting points for antimalarial drug discovery.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
My ultimate dinner party would include:

  • Johnny Depp – my favourite actor–I just love how versatile an actor he is.
  • Bill Gates – I would like to thank him for all the funding he has provided to fight malaria and chat about his views on how we can continue the pathway to malaria eradication.
  • Elton John – absolutely love his music–knows how to throw a great party.
  • J.K Rowling – I would love to hear her life story first hand–so inspirational.
  • Billy Connolly – I could listen to Billy’s jokes all night long–reminds me so much of the man I married.

5. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
Access to databases (i.e. Web of Science/InCites) and information on how to measure research impact. These tools have been very useful when updating my CV and for benchmarking in research grant applications.

6. Can you give us your three best research tips?

  1. 1. Do not spend all your time working, it is important to achieve a good work/life balance.
  2. 2. Work smart not hard.
  3. 3. Build a team of like minded, forward thinking, enthusiastic people.

Check out some of Gill’s full-text articles in Griffith Research Online.

 

Danielle Stanisic

Institute for Glycomics Senior Research Fellow, Dr Danielle Stanisic shares her biggest career highlight thus far and calls our attention to the key challenge her team is facing during the clinical evaluation of malaria vaccine candidates.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a medical doctor, but then I discovered parasites and in particular the malaria parasite while at university. I was completely intrigued by it–a parasite that is incredibly complex and clever and continues to evolve so that it can escape whatever we throw at it (our immune response, antimalarial drugs). Since then my career has focused on the malaria parasite.

2. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The biggest highlight was when I was working at the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research for about four years. Scientists researching the malaria parasite are very aware of the morbidity and mortality statistics associated with malaria infection–up to half a million deaths and over 200 million clinical cases each year. Actually living and working in a country with malaria really helped me to understand and appreciate the impact that malaria has on people day to day and how important it is to eliminate the parasite that causes malaria.

3. Your research focuses on pre-clinical and clinical evaluation of malaria vaccine candidates, can you tell us about the challenges you’re currently facing?
Our research is very exciting and the transition from pre-clinical models to clinical evaluation is always challenging. One of our biggest current challenges is finding volunteers to participate in our clinical trials so we can evaluate the effectiveness of our malaria vaccine candidate.

4. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. The words that come to mind when I think of his character are: integrity, fairness, kindness and a strong sense of justice and morality.  His actions and words were consistent with his principles.

5. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
Being able to quickly access so many articles from a wide range of journals, and in particular the interlibrary loan service. It makes a big difference in terms of being able to keep up with the research in my field.

6. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Find your passion, something you love to work on. Research can be both incredibly rewarding and challenging. You need the passion to keep you going through the challenging times. Diversify – make sure you have a really diverse skill set.

Check out some of Danielle’s full-text articles in Griffith Research Online.


A quick Q&A with Dr Sam Canning

Queensland College of Art’s Doctor Sam Canning (who notably designed the 3D printed dress in our current Remarkable advertising campaign) discusses his career, research tips and preserving Australian rock art.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Most definitely an Astronaut!  In 1976 at age 8 I lived in Moscow and went to an American School.  Tom Stafford and Vance Brand came into my classroom after the Apollo-Soyuz test project. They were on a publicity tour of the USSR. I remember them in their tan coloured flight-suits, friendly and exuding some kind of infallible confidence.  I was completely blown away. I later found out Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan had descended to 14.4km above the lunar surface well before Armstrong and Aldrin. I think about that experience now and it still fills me with awe. These guys were like gods to me and still are.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
I served a 4 year apprenticeship as a Hand French Polisher with a company called Restall Brown and Clennell who had furniture workshops in Hackney and Lewes.  This firm is over 110 years old now and maintains traditional craft practices which date back well into the 19th century, to the time of William Morris.  Most of my work colleagues were second world war veterans with a wealth of life experience.  I learnt a lot there not just about French Polishing.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
BBC News, BBC Iplayer Radio, Gmail (of course)

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
My Dad (who died 9 years ago), my Mum, my Wife, my Son and my Brother.  These guys are celebrities to me. What was it Kris Kristofferson said, “I’d trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday”.  I know it’s a bit sentimental but I think its quite beautiful and sums it up.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
It has to be Judge Dredd. Brooding, Ruthless, Relentless.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
It’s diversity. I can be teaching one day , dealing with industry professionals the next or overseas promoting AEL to potential students.  It is an amazing position, sometimes I have trouble believing it is real. In fact, it is not like work at all.

7. Where do you see the future of 3D printing?
I see the future of 3D printing as one of increasing presence in the direct manufacture of products of pretty much all types.  I believe developments in the areas of part quality and material selection will improve and expand the potential of 3D printing. Also speed and machine build size are important factors that will improve gradually. However most of all, design for 3D printing I believe is the most important factor influencing the uptake of 3D printing as a legitimate manufacturing option.  The education of these skills is something we specialise in at QCA, in the Product/3D major of the design program and the Industrial Design program. This is something we have developed a specialisation in over the last 8 years. 3D printing is not just another manufacturing process that existing design rules can be applied to, it is a complete revolution, a new age in the production of artefacts of all kinds.  This is the threshold of the dissemination of 3D printing, and when it is largely crossed nothing will look or function the same again. We (or at least our children) will look back at the current period as we look back at the age of steam with a mixture or wonder and amusement.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Working with 3D printing/advanced manufacturing in some capacity.  Griffith has made a commitment to research and industry engagement in this field and design for 3D printing will be a part of that, and I would very much like to contribute to this.  I work for QCA and it is an amazing place to work.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
This is a difficult one as there have been so many defining moments.  I think I would have to say walking over the Green bridge between Dutton Park and St Lucia on the phone and accepting a sessional job at QCA.  This was over 10 years ago and was the start of this amazing journey that has changed my life completely.

10. Tell us about a project/research you are working on at the moment.
Most of my research projects have either industry links or links with research partners within Griffith.  I think at the moment it is a training device for surgeons to use that has the potential to reduce the risk to patients undergoing complex and risky medical procedures.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers or young academics?
Stick to publishing within your field of expertise and avoid what my old lecturer described as the drunken sniper approach.  If you stick to this, your profile (and credibility) will steadily develop. 

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
Echo Objects by Barbara Stafford. This book, although a complex read, proved an important resource for my PhD.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?
1. Collaborate. There is so much to be learned by involving others, and Griffith is a great place to do this.  We have a healthy culture of collaboration which makes for good partnerships. Also industry linkages are really important in my research.

2. This is an obvious one but I was once told when beginning my PhD, stick to your passion, your life’s work, something you would be doing anyway, job PhD or not.  Maintaining your passion is vital.

3. Be relentless (like Judge Dredd).


A quick Q&A with Professor Paul Taçon

Professor Paul Taçon

School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Professor Paul Taçon discusses his career, research tips and preserving Australian rock art.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An archaeologist, medical doctor or perhaps a space engineer. Ended up a rock art scientist rather than a rocket scientist!

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
I worked at the Australian Museum in Sydney, NSW for 14 years from 1991 to 2005. Besides being allowed to conduct lots of archaeological and ethnographic field research I also contributed to the development of a number of temporary and travelling exhibitions, as well as the First Australians Gallery. I met amazing people, including lots of wonderful Aboriginal Australians, and got to conduct research on one of the most amazing collections of Aboriginal material culture in the world. It was always a lot of fun browsing the storage areas.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Facebook, Google News, Maps.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
Nicole Kidman, Stephen Hawking, Patrick Stewart (who played Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek), famous primate scientist Jane Goodall and astrophysicist and science presenter Neil deGrasse Tyson.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
Jean-Luc Picard, commander of the starship USS Enterprise-D, explorer of new worlds and archaeologist (played by Patrick Stewart).

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
The best part of my job is having the privilege to work with a Dream Team of staff and PhD students. Also, lots of opportunity for research travel to fascinating places with culturally diverse people.

7. What sparked your interest in Australian Rock Art? 
When I was 10 years old we had a family holiday in Spain, where I saw rock paintings for the first time. Levantine hunters were painted in red chasing deer across rock shelter walls near Valencia. My imagination went wild and I can still remember thinking how amazing it was that people stood where I was standing, painting these figures many thousands of years before. At university I studied anthropology and psychology and then worked on archaeological digs that involved excavations in Canada and the US. One day I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. I made a list of all the things I was interested in–archaeology, anthropology, art, science, photography, travel–and thought ‘what connects all of these things together?’ Suddenly it came to me–rock art! And I’ve been studying rock art ever since.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to be easing off a bit in preparation for retirement, hopefully with more time for writing. But still at Griffith University!

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Being the first non-Indigenous person to find and see wonderful rock shelters full of stunning rock art imagery is certainly a career highlight.

10. Tell us about a project/research you are working on at the moment.
‘Australian rock art history, conservation and Indigenous well-being’ is my main research project for the next 4 years and is the central focus of an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship I was awarded in 2016. The project has three key research questions:

  1. 1. Why are rock art complexes important for Indigenous people and especially for Indigenous well-being?
  2. 2. How can we better conserve and manage rock art landscapes for the benefit of future generations?
  3. 3. Why is there currently little rock art concern in Australia compared to many other countries and why do rock art sites continue to be threatened by economic activity (such as mining, agriculture and infrastructure development) before their economic contribution and social values are elevated?

Among other things, my project team members are working in collaboration with Indigenous communities to better protect rock art within its wider cultural landscape, advance rock art conservation science, provide training and develop sustainable models for cultural tourism and rock art.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers or young academics?
I give my PhD students and early researchers a copy of my ‘Building a Successful Research and Practice Career: Professor Taçon’s Top Twenty Tips’. Number twenty is ‘have fun, enjoy what you do!’

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
Online Library publication search engines.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?
Also from my Top Twenty Tips:

  1. 1. Develop your powers of observation and write everything down; learn to write clearly, concisely and in an engaging way.
  2. 2. Learn to sell yourself by giving articulate and interesting verbal presentations.
  3. 3. Think laterally; be creative and develop innovative solutions (think outside the box).

A quick Q&A with Jeremy Wilson

PhD candidate Jeremy Wilson

Griffith School of Environment PhD candidate, Jeremy Wilson discusses his career, research tips and new Arachnid discoveries.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Like many kids I went through an early stage where I was obsessed with dinosaurs and wanted to be a palaeontologist. I’m still obsessed with dinosaurs…but as I got older I became more interested in the things I could see in the backyard, like insects and spiders.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
For the last few years I’ve been involved in a long-term study on the Australian Magpie. Did you know that the magpies in Melbourne have white backs, while those further north have black backs? We travelled down twice a year to study birds in the ‘hybrid-zone’, where black-backed and white-backed magpies occur together. Hybrid zones like this are really good for studying natural selection at work. For example, in the magpies we could study how back-colour affects survival and reproductive success and relate this to selective pressures such as visibility to predators.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Audible to listen to books, Spotify to listen to music and CastBox to listen to podcasts…safe to say I have my headphones in quite a lot!

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

  • Sam Harris — I’m a big fan of his podcast.
  • Richard Dawkins —To talk about evolutionary theory.
  • Yuval Noah Harari — He has written two fantastic books on human evolution.
  • Jennifer Doudna — She wrote the book I’m currently reading about gene-editing technologies and their ethical implications.
  • Jamie Oliver — I’d try and convince him to cook, but he also seems like an entertaining guy!

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
That’s tough, but I think I’ll choose Pi Patel from ‘Life of Pi’. I loved the book and the movie.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
I’m a PhD candidate at Griffith. The best thing about this role is the freedom to choose what you want to study and make the project your own. This can be stressful at times, but makes good results so much more rewarding.

7. We hear you’ve recently discovered some new species of trapdoor spider in Toohey Forest (eek!)–can you tell us a little about this?
During my PhD work I’ve discovered a new lineage of trapdoor spiders which make really cryptic burrows. The burrows of these spiders have a hinged lid over the entrance to their burrow which is made of leaves and blends in flawlessly with the leaf-litter. The burrows of these spiders are so well camouflaged that we didn’t even know they existed in mainland Australia until now! There are over 15 undescribed species in this lineage, spread throughout eastern Australia. One of those species occurs all through Brisbane, including in Toohey Forest!

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I hope I’m an early career researcher doing work similar to that which I’m currently doing: finding new spider species and studying their evolution.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my career so far was getting great feedback from a good journal on the scientific paper I’ve just written. This paper, the result of extremely hard work, will be the first published from my PhD studies.

10. Tell us about a project/research you are working on at the moment. 
Currently I’m writing a taxonomic paper describing four new species of trapdoor spider. These four species are unusual even for trapdoor spiders, as they build strange palisade-like burrows which project out from the ground! All four species occur in south-eastern Queensland and are highly restricted, each occurring in a single national park.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers or young academics?
For potential PhD students–work on something you’re really interested in. A PhD is a big investment and you need to be self-motivated. If you’re lucky enough to have a particular passion, work on that!

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
I use the online resources provided by the library the most. I constantly use the database to search for and access new papers. The library also provides great modules on a range of areas such as how to publish papers efficiently and how to increase the impact of your papers. A special mention also has to go to the Referencing Tool which saved me a few times back in my undergraduate degree.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?

  • Make sure you invest in other areas of your life as well. Research has its ups and downs, so it’s important to have other hobbies which take your mind off your research for some time each day.
  • Prioritise your work each day based on difficult–do the difficult things in the morning when your brain is fresh!
  • Publicise your research. This is one I find particularly challenging. It’s becoming increasingly important for researchers to show the general public why their work is valuable. Most people don’t read scientific papers, so reach out to the media or use social media platforms to advertise your research to a wider audience.

A quick Q&A with Professor Kathy Andrews

Professor Kathy Andrews

Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD), Professor Kathy Andrews discusses her career, research tips and writing a children’s book.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be so many things when I was growing up! An artist, an author and a scientist. In the end, I was able to mix some of these things together into one great job. Being a scientist is very creative and involves not only solving interesting questions but also communicating your findings to other scientists and the public.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
My first job was wrapping presents at Christmas time in a department store!

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
iBooks (because I read constantly), Notes (to remind myself of things) and Twitter (still getting used to this one)

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
That’s a hard one. If my daughter was involved, I would have to say five members of the Firebirds netball team!

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
I don’t have particular favourites, but I am quite taken by the elven characters in Lord of the Rings.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
The best thing about my current role is the diversity of things that I am involved in. I work with fantastic staff and students on exciting research projects focused on developing new medicines for malaria, teach undergraduate students about infectious diseases and also talk to people in the community about how great science is.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope that in five years I will have developed a new type of antimalarial drug. Fingers crossed!

8. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my career really is in seeing my amazing research students graduate and go on to do wonderful things with their lives and careers. Very rewarding!

9. You are involved in Griffith’s That’s Rad Science project. Tell us about that.
I have always been involved in science communication and in 2016 I decided to try something new that also combined my skills in project management and writing. I wanted to inspire as many children as possible by telling them about the amazing worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I started That’s RAD! Science with the vision of producing a series of 12 books authored by Queenslanders working in STEM areas. The aim is to distribute the books widely to primary school children and interest them in STEM from an early age. I am authoring the first book about parasites (think pet poo parasites, scratchy head lice, and malaria mini-vampire parasites!)

UPDATE: Check out Kathy’s book launch.

10. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Make sure you find something you are passionate about to work on!

11. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
The best Griffith University Library resource has to be the ability access online journal articles. When I started as a scientist, I often had to order articles and wait several weeks for them to arrive by post!

12. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?
Take detailed notes, set aside time to think about your research project what it means, and think outside the box as you never know what you might find!