Passion for science brings young researcher to the big smoke

Passion for science brings young researcher to the big smoke

Illuminate newsletter header, Winter 2021
June 2021

Dr Georgia Atkin-Smith says that as a scientist, she
is privileged to discover things people have never seen before

Growing up on a small farm near Horsham in regional Victoria, Dr Georgia Atkin-Smith never envisioned becoming a scientist.

Despite always having an interest in science, it wasn’t the typical career path chosen by students at Horsham College, where she received her secondary schooling.

It was not until she went to university that Dr Atkin-Smith realised the plethora of opportunities that existed in science and research.

Now a postdoctoral researcher working with Associate Professor Edwin Hawkins at WEHI and Associate Professor Ivan Poon at La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, Dr Atkin-Smith said the excitement of making new discoveries brought her back to the lab each day.

“As a scientist, we are privileged to discover things people have never seen before,” she said.

Dr Atkin-Smith, whose passion is investigating how cells die, is currently using WEHI’s world-class imaging facilities to look at how leukemia can affect the cells that line blood vessels.

“My research is aimed at understanding how cells live, grow and die, and how they function in normal settings,” she said.

“By understanding this basic biology, we can then examine these processes in disease states such as leukemia, which may ultimately lead to new treatments.”

The 28-year-old stressed how critical it was for young researchers to have role models.

“It is really important to have mentors in any industry, but particularly in science. Mentors provide key advice, support and perspective that is paramount in establishing yourself as a researcher and provide an inspiration to push you further in your career.”

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