Lilly Backshell

Lilly Backshell joined WEHI as a CareerTrackers intern in 2015, working a number of different diabetes research projects with Professor Len Harrison.

In 2019/20 she investigated the gut microbiome of children from Galiwin’ku in East Arnhem land in the Northern Territory, to understand how this might contribute to healthy growth and development.

Lilly, a member of the Boonwurrung people of the Kulin Nation, was in her penultimate year of medical studies at Monash University in 2020. She undertook Honours research at Monash University Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, investigating the molecular regulation of immunity and inflammation, and when she graduates she plans to pursue an area of medicine involving immunology and research.

Lilly said her time at WEHI was invaluable to her learning and growth as a clinician scientist.

“It’s been fantastic to see the full picture of medical research: doctors meeting patients, clinical sample processing, data analysis and bioinformatics, and then the translation of this back into a clinical environment,”
– Lilly Backshell

“Medicine and medical research have been careers previously inaccessible to Indigenous people. Slowly this is improving, but still there is a lack of representation of Indigenous people in these fields. I think diversity in all workplaces is important – and not just with Indigenous people, but with people from all cultures and backgrounds.

“I’ve been very fortunately to undertake my internship at WEHI, where I’ve worked alongside many talented, friendly and encouraging people. It would be great to see more medical and research organisations participating in CareerTrackers,” Lilly said.

CareerTrackers is a national non-profit organisation that creates internship opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students. WEHI has been hosting CareerTrackers students since 2014.

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