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Meet Sophie Collard

Masters student, Inflammation division. Sophie says her research has benefited from WEHI’s collaborative culture.

Why did you choose WEHI for your Masters?

As part of my undergraduate degree at WEHI I did a research project and absolutely loved it. The people, the equipment and all of the facilities were amazing, so I knew I would enjoy and benefit from doing my Masters here.

Student Sophie Collard profile
Above: Sophie is testing a combinational treatment for the autoimmune disease lupus.

What’s your Masters research about?

I am testing a combinational treatment for the autoimmune disease lupus, by treating lupus-like diseased mice. I combine a proteasome inhibitor with a JAK inhibitor to deplete antibody producing plasma cells, whilst also inhibiting inflammation.

What are you passionate about?

I find diseases very interesting and love that by understanding the pathogenesis, this can help us to treat them. I am fascinated by all the inflammatory pathways and how these contribute to disease.

It’s a very good feeling knowing that the experiments we do will help to expand knowledge in the field, and I would like to produce research that could lead to new advances and understanding of disease treatments.

What does a typical working day involve?

My days can vary quite a bit depending on whether I have classes or what type of experiment I am carrying out at the time. Typically, I will come into the lab around 9am and make up the mice treatments for the animal techs. I then start an experiment. During incubation periods, I do some Tissue Culture (TC) work, data analysis or assignments.

“I would like to produce research that could lead to new advances and understanding of disease treatments.”
– Sophie Collard

How has WEHI supported your studies?

Everyone at WEHI is so lovely and welcoming; it is easy to reach out, ask questions and form connections. As well, the facilities are fantastic, making the ability to produce reliable and repeatable results much easier.

Socially, the WEHI student association has hosted many educational events that are helpful for gaining insight into different job paths I would never have thought of. Also, the monthly food and drink celebrations are great for meeting new people.

What did you do before starting your post-graduate studies?

I completed a Bachelor of Science at The University of Melbourne. My major was Pathology, but I also did a lot of immunology and biochemistry subjects.

“The WEHI student association has hosted many educational events that are very helpful for gaining insight into different job paths I would never have thought of.”
– Sophie Collard

Do you have plans for what you’d like to do after your Masters?

I would like to work as a Research Assistant to gain more experience. As well, I would like to take some time to travel, perhaps even working overseas somewhere in Europe. At this time, I am undecided on whether I will go on to do a PhD or go into an industry related jobs.

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