Video transcripts for Hot Topics of Hot Prospects

Hot topic: Why hot science talent should do a PhD.

Transcript for video featured on YouTube.

Dr Michelle McIntosh: I realised quite early in my undergraduate that I thought going into community pharmacy or hospital pharmacy wasn't where I was ultimately end up. I wanted a career in pharmaceutical research and the advice that I got when I was talking to people at GSK was that you really need postgraduate research. So I registered as a pharmacist, which was a fantastic way of supporting my lifestyle on the weekends and then I was in the lab during the week.

Dr Tri-Hung Nguyen: I was in my final year of honours, I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do but I knew what I enjoyed doing and that was problem solving and trying to find out new things. That led me to enquire about being a part of the PhD program and I realised there were a lot of problems out there that were yet to be solved.

Dr Victoria Oliver: I think that's what I found most exciting too. I've always wanted to do research because I've wanted to contribute something that's going to make peoples lives better, something that's going to treat diseases more effectively or save lives.

Dr Michelle McIntosh: What are the main skills that you felt you developed during your PhD program?

Dr Victoria Oliver: I think like Tri said, the main skills were the ability to search out and problem solve for yourself so you can't always just be told the answer, you need to go out and find it.

Dr Tri-Hung Nguyen: You learn how to interact with people, how to work in teams, how to lead others. You learn to interact with people and that's something that you really do use after you finish your PhD because you're not going to be working by yourself in isolation in a dark old lab.

Dr Victoria Oliver: You can use that skill in any field that you go into.

Dr Tri-Hung Nguyen: Exactly, the skills that you use in problem solving can be applied to any scenario and there the skills you learn in your PhD

Dr Michelle McIntosh: Have you had the opportunity to evaluate the resources and infrastructure that were available to you as PhD students here, compared to what the facilities might be like elsewhere?

Dr Tri-Hung Nguyen: I think we take it a lot for granted going through the PhD program here, how extremely lucky we are with the resources we have. We have state of the art equipment; you're never at a loss for experts or people you can talk to about your project.

Hot topic: Why the world's hottest science talent do their PhD at MIPS

Transcript for video featured on YouTube.

The most favorite thing that I really like about science is the discoveries in science.

You're kind of on the forefront of human knowledge

I mean life-changing discoveries

You're always finding out something kind of interesting, you're learning something new every day

It's challenging, it's perplexing, it's complicated. It's everything that my personality loves.

Professor Nigel Bunnet: We need a new generation of scientists who can understand the fundamental discoveries in biology and can translate that to making better medicines.

I felt so comfortable here, everyone was so friendly, I liked the lab I was doing the work in, I like the supervisor who was really supportive

You make so many great friendships and good relationships with you lecturers.

Professor Nigel Bunnet: The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences or MIPS has great people, great facilities, a tremendous comradely. It's a fun place to work. We have a unique blend of expertise in biology, in chemistry and are in close proximity to some of the major hospitals in Melbourne.

The great thing about MIPS is that there's so much support and guidance around.

We have medicinal chemists here, we have people who do biochemistry, we have molecular biologists. So everything is housed in one campus. Also, MIPS has a good portfolio or researchers which are actually at the forefront of their academic research. They are world-renowned scientists in their research

The main thing that I really love about this campus is probably the close-knit community that we have here. You see the same familiar faces all the time and I really love that about this place.

I want to make a difference to as many peoples lives as I can. To solve some really key questions that contribute to the development of more effective medications would be the most satisfying feeling in the world.

Hot topic: How our graduates are changing the world undertaking research with impact

Transcript for video featured on YouTube.

Dr Victoria Oliver: What we're trying to develop is a dry powder inhaler for Oxytocin, which is currently given as a solution injection. In developing countries, there's not a lot of electricity, let alone refrigeration so if we can get it into a dry powder inhaler, it can be much more available across the world.

Dr Michelle McIntosh: This project was identified as the project most likely to be transformational in maternal and neonatal healthcare. That award was presented by Hilary Clinton and the project has had a lot of significant supporters encouraging us and providing us with the resources that we need to take it forward and into a clinical development stage.

Dr Tri-Hung Nguyen: Recently, I was able to go to Uganda and that was a very eye opening experience I have to say. We were talking to midwives and nurses who we saying that sometimes if they had the Oxytocin, they did even have the needles, syringes or even the alcohol swabs to administer the actual life saving drug. In some facilities where women were giving birth, one midwife was looking after 20 patients who were giving birth at the same time.
Oxytocin relies on the actual drug to be administered pretty soon after birth, within minutes, in order to prevent postpartum hemorrhage.
Only if you go to these places where the drug can be used, that you learn that these are deficits that are out there and that's when you come back and you look at how your product can actually change that.

Dr Michelle McIntosh: Ultimately, what I think everyone on the inhaler oxytocin project team would like to see, is that it is just as safe for a women to give birth in India or sub Saharan Africa, as it is in Australia. We would really like to improve access to medicines so that women all around the world can get access to life saving drugs. That's something we can achieve and really make a tangible difference.

Hot topic: Lori tells why her supervisor is hot property

Transcript for video featured on YouTube.

Lori Ferrins: I am working on a parasitic disease known as African sleeping sickness. It is considered to be 100% fatal if left untreated and the current treatment options that we have are severely flawed. With this particular project, we have six groups of compounds and we're trying to optimize them so that they become not only really potent and effective treatments but also much safer than the ones we currently have.

Professor Jonathan Baell: In fact if I can speak on your behalf, you've made breakthrough compounds right? So you've got some very potent compounds and at the moment its metabolic stability and solubility that are the two things that I have 100% confidence you're going to crack over the next couple of years.

Lori Ferrins: With all of Jonathan's students, he seems to operate an open door policy, whether he realizes it or not. We're always free to go in and have a chat if we need to.

Professor Jonathan Baell: It seems to work really well, certainly in the first year or two of PhD, first year particularly. It's still a learning process and so you have a dynamic relationship over time, where there's more supervision early on but increasingly that becomes more standalone. I feel that's the way it should be.

Lori Ferrins: MIPS has been a fantastic place to do my PhD. We've got access to some of the greatest minds in research, all on campus, I include Jonathan in that. Whenever you encounter a problem, you can always go and speak to them and draw upon their knowledge, which is invaluable.
In addition to that, MIPS, where it's located, we're very close to a lot of other really fantastic research institutes. Places like, CSIRO, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), the hospitals.

Professor Jonathan Baell: Its brilliant, being located in the so-called "Parkville Strip" means we can also get very high profile visiting scientists to come and talk.

Lori Ferrins: It means your project progresses at a rapid rate really.

Professor Jonathan Baell: What I like about it is that you don't wake up on Monday morning wondering why you're doing what you're doing; you are there to find a drug to treat a disease. It's an absolute passion.

Lori Ferrins: You know that there's hopefully going to be something that can benefit people and for me that's the driving force really, that you can make a difference and hopefully cure a disease along the way.