Student Profile - Timothy Gottschalk

Tim Gootschalk
Tim Gottschalk presenting at the CCS Postgraduate Student Symposium 2016

Timothy Gottschalk is a PhD student in the Leukocyte Signaling Laboratory at the Department of Immunology and Pathology where he is supervised by Associate Professor Margaret Hibbs. He studied a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and is interested in learning about what causes and drives autoimmune disease.

What is your research about?

My project is focusing on understanding new treatments and new elements in the pathogenesis of Lupus. It’s also looking at the role of the microbiome in Lupus and how diet can modulate the microbiome.

Is this an area you’ve always been interested in?

I was drawn to the lab because I was interested in Immunology, but I was also interested in biochemistry and understanding pathology and what causes and drives disease, so that’s what interested me in the project. But I didn’t have any specific interest in Lupus.

I thought a lot of projects were very specialised. They were all looking at very specific diseases or very specific things. At the point when I first started Honours I was more interested in basic science and very broad open ended topics and I also got along well early on with my supervisors.

Lupus is quite a broad autoimmune disease, it’s multifactorial and there are different pathogenic elements - every patient is different from the next. While the project is looking at Lupus it’s also examining broad systemic autoimmune disease and inflammation as well.

What was your first job?

My first job was a newspaper collator, working in a warehouse to put together newspapers.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Hanging out with friends, I like to go and see shows and movies and concerts. I like a lot of different movies, I don’t have a favourite type.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I think I wanted to be a fireman or a policeman, pretty generic!

What about when you were at school, did you start to get an interest in science then?

At school I was interested in language. I think I did well at science so that directed me to study science at university - it seemed like that was more of a secure career decision.

Do you speak any other languages?

I study Korean at the moment and I did study Japanese in high school and a bit in uni. I’m not fluent and especially now, as it’s been quite a few years.

I’ve been doing Korean for almost three years now. I do a weekend class, but outside of that I don’t do as much as I should. Earlier on it was quite easy when it was beginners' stuff, but now it’s getting quite advanced, you need to take time to really practise.

What’s your favourite place that you’ve visited?

I really loved London, I could move there and live there I think. India was very interesting, it was very culturally different which was really good. And I loved Japan, but it’s been so long - I went there in high school, I really want to go back.

What are your plans when you finish your PhD?

Ideally, I’d love to stay within the department, it’s a great department. I know everyone and it’s a really great place to work. I’d like to stay in research, at least for the short term future. Maybe teaching as well, I wouldn’t want to completely let go of the lab work though, that’s what I enjoy the most.

What advice do you have for others considering or just starting a PhD?

My advice would be to work hard, to keep up constant communication with your supervisor, plan, write as early and as often as you can, even if it’s just writing your review. and try and get it published, it all helps. Keep on top of everything!