A Nobel opportunity for PhD scientist

16 April 2013

PhD student Lara Malins is on her way to Germany to meet Nobel Laureates.
PhD student Lara Malins is on her way to Germany to meet Nobel Laureates.

A chance to interact with Nobel Prize winners in the field of chemistry has been awarded to Lara Malins, a PhD student at the University of Sydney, who will join around 500 early career research scientists from around the world for the event.

After being selected from a highly competitive field of international applicants Lara, from the University's School of Chemistry, will attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Germany, which this year focuses on chemistry.

Eight young Australian scientists were chosen to attend the meetings from 30 June to 5 July from a field of 625 undergraduate and postgraduate students from 78 countries.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have been run every year since 1951, and bring scientists under the age of 35 together with Nobel Laureates to exchange ideas, discuss projects and build international networks. The meetings rotate through the three science disciplines rewarded by the Nobel Prizes: physiology or medicine, physics, and chemistry, with a tri-disciplinary meeting every five years.

"I am honoured and excited to be chosen to attend this year's Lindau meetings, which promise to be a powerful forum for innovation and the exchange of ideas," said Lara.

Lara first considered becoming a researcher when she was working in a lab as an undergraduate.

"I realised that research in organic chemistry provides an outlet for creativity and innovation - the goal is often to develop new methods and access molecules that do not yet exist. It is extremely rewarding to contribute to the cutting edge of chemical knowledge."

Originally from the US, Lara moved to Australia in 2009 to study with Associate Professor Richard Payne at the School of Chemistry, who nominated her for the Lindau honour.

"I'm interested in how to use chemical tools to understand biology and help manage diseases," Lara said.

Her current research involves the development of new methods for the creation of complex, biologically active peptides and proteins.

"We're able to access a variety of large proteins and seek to understand their role within biological systems. We apply our methods to the development of new protein-based treatments, including some that could be used for cancer vaccines."

"I am currently finishing my degree and seeking postdoctoral positions so the Lindau event is a great opportunity, coming at a pivotal time as I embark on the next step in my career as a researcher."

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