Showcasing research talent to our industry partners

MTPConnect Senior Director BioMedTech Horizons Program, Dr Gerard Gibbs, and So You Think You Can Pitch? competition winner, Dr Natalie Lister.
MTPConnect Senior Director BioMedTech Horizons Program, Dr Gerard Gibbs, and So You Think You Can Pitch? competition winner, Dr Natalie Lister.

The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) held its annual Industry Showcase on Tuesday 3 December. The showcase provides an opportunity to promote the growing pipeline of discoveries to domestic and international industry partners and the Victorian Government. The highlight of the evening was the annual So You Think You Can Pitch? competition, putting the spotlight on our early career researchers and their translational research.

The event was well attended, with more than 80 guests from the Monash BDI, existing and potential industry partners, representatives from the Victorian Government and influencers in biomedical science.

Professor John Carroll, Director of the Monash BDI, welcomed guests and provided and overview before handing over to the keynote speaker, Michelle Gallaher, CEO of Opyl (formerly ShareRoot).

Ms Gallaher delivered an inspirational talk directed to all young scientists across the country, highlighting the importance of making great efforts to be seen in the public space. After Ms Gallaher’s speech, Dr Sheena McGowan, the Monash BDI’s Director of Industry Engagement and host for the showcase event, kicked off the So You Think You Can Pitch? competition.

This year, the judging panel included:

  • Karen Clarke, Acting Senior Investment Manager, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
  • Dr Anand Gautam, Senior Director and Head of External Science & Innovation (ES&I), Australia, New Zealand & Southeast Asia Pfizer
  • Dr Catherine Drinkwater, Senior Project Leader and Director of Project Management, Biocurate

The judges were greatly impressed by the quality of the pitches. Dr Drinkwater stated that she was not only impressed with the quality of the science presented, but with the confident and polished presentations.

Dr Natalie Lister, from the Risbridger lab, received first prize ($2,000, sponsored by MTPConnect) for her pitch Predicting new treatments for prostate cancer patients with math.

Dr Pouya Faridi, from the Purcell lab, was named runner-up ($500, sponsored by MRCF) for his pitch Point-of-care biomarker kit for early diagnosis of bladder cancer.

Aidil Zikri, a second year PhD student from the Zaph lab, was the audience favourite with his pitch Should I give my kids worms? and received $500 (sponsored by the Monash BDI).

Associate Professor Alex de Marco also competed with distinction with his pitch Miniaturised optics.

“I found the industry showcase and pitch competition to be a unique experience where I could present my novel scientific concept to the commercial world,” Dr Lister said.

After the pitch competition, Dr Mitch Lawrence, who won the 2018 So You Think You Can Pitch? competition, reflected on his applied lessons from participating at the pitch competition and the exposure to industry engagement.

Thank you to MTPConnect and the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund for sponsoring the first and runner up prizes.

About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.