Studying at Northern Clinical School opens doors to many attractive career options. We are very proud to share with you the inspiring stories of our graduates, and give you a glimpse of the exciting possibilities ahead.
Dr Viive Howell, PhD graduate
Friends thought I was crazy to give up a secure position as a senior clinical scientist to move into full time research as a PhD student. It is now 13 years later, and I have not for a moment regretted the move. I undertook my PhD studies in the Cancer Genetics and Functional Genomics Laboratories of the Kolling Institute and also spent 6 months at the Van Andel Research Institute, USA. The Kolling provided a highly supportive environment; travel grant opportunities allowed me to undertake cutting edge research not possible locally; and being co-located with a hospital facilitated the rapid translation of my research into clinical practice. These experiences were guided by my supervisor A/Prof Debbie Marsh and provided me with an appreciation of the requirements for high quality research and a successful research career.
Following completion of my PhD, I undertook post-doctoral studies as an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow at the University of Michigan Medical School, USA. The Fellowship also provided me with a way to return to research in Australia, and I chose to return to the Kolling. I was awarded two further fellowships and I am now the Director of the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory. Here I work with scientists, medical oncologists and surgeons to answer clinical questions in the laboratory, which in turn can again be fast-tracked to the clinic.
Research can be both rewarding and unforgiving, and a PhD candidature should not be undertaken lightly. I considered it a privilege to have prominent senior researchers focused on my research to ensure I had a productive start to my research career.
Dr. David B. O’Gorman, PhD graduate
My interest in medical research grew from a desire to expand my knowledge beyond what I had learned in my first full-time job as a pathology technician in a private medical diagnostics laboratory. I originally joined Dr. Carolyn Scott's research group at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as a research assistant and moved with the group to the Northern Clinical School in 1994. While my undergraduate and MSc training were in molecular microbiology, I took advantage of the opportunity to broaden my interests and to pursue a part-time PhD in cancer cell biology in the Kolling Institute of Medical Research. I graduated in 2001 and moved to London, Canada to pursue post-doctoral studies. After completing my postdoctoral training in 2005, I was appointed to the Departments of Surgery and Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario as an Assistant Professor.
I am currently the Director of Molecular and Cellular Research at the Roth McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre in London, Ontario. My research is focussed on understanding the processes that regulate normal and abnormal tissue regeneration and repair, specifically in the connective tissues of the hand and upper limb.
Throughout my career I have maintained strong links with my physician colleagues to ensure that my research is closely aligned with clinical priorities and the needs of our patients. As medical research funds become more difficult to obtain due to financial restraints, I would advise medical research students at the Northern Clinical School to continually ensure that their research remains aligned with the current clinical priorities.
Dr. Paul Robinson, PhD graduate
Having completed my PhD in 2011, I now work as a Respiratory Staff Specialist at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. My goal is to establish myself as a clinician researcher and I remain a Research Associate within the Airways Physiology and Imaging group at the Woolcock Medical Research Institute where I did my PhD, under the supervision of A/Prof Greg King.
My area of research interest is the physiology of airway disease across both paediatric and adult age ranges, and in particular, the contribution of the peripheral airways to the pathogenesis of important respiratory conditions (Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, and Bronchiolitis Obliterans). My PhD candidature provided me with expertise in an area of direct clinical relevance to the patients I now look after. Having become an expert in the area I have been now been able to forge both national and international collaborations with other researchers. This has been rewarding experience both personally and professionally and I would highly recommend a higher degree to any medical trainee considering it. For those enrolled in higher degrees, developing short term goals and a clear focus on the overall aim of my research were key reasons for my successful candidature. This can be a fantastically rewarding time in your professional career.
Dr Nathan Wilson, PhD graduate
I have an extensive background as a clinician and educator in the developmental disability field in Australia and the UK. I enrolled in a PhD through the Centre for Disability Studies based in the Northern Clinical School of the Sydney Medical School, in 2004. After graduating with a PhD in 2009, I worked at the Faculty of Health Sciences, the University of Sydney as a researcher and lecturer specialising in disability. Since January 2014, I have been working at the University of Western Sydney in the School of Nursing as a Senior Lecturer and this new role will be integral to the inclusion of “disability and health” into the curriculum.
My experiences as a PhD student within the Northern Clinical School were simply superb and I was fortunate to have a fantastic supervisory team, led by Professor Trevor Parmenter, who understood how to support a student facing the often delicate balance of post graduate study, family life and work. This supportive and collegial environment enabled me to complete my PhD which has opened up many doors and opportunities.