Michael Gitonobel

Michael Gitonobel

Michael Gitonobel

  • Student type: International
  • Year commenced: 2022
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours)
  • Major(s): Genetics; Physiology

Why did you decide to study science?
A passion for science has been planted for me by my family since I was a child through providing me with science animation CDs to watch. I was, and have always been, a curious person. My parents told me many stories about successful scientists producing ground-breaking research that changed the world. I aspire to become one of these scientists and live up to my name, that is, to win the Nobel prize (so I can say “Nobel” is part of my name). I have always been fascinated by how cells work and how DNA as a genetic entity actually directs our development and basically, tells us who we are. I have an ambitious goal to leave my mark in the history books and it would be particularly helpful for humanity if I manage to produce a significant discovery that can advance society. In particular, I am really intrigued by the idea that genome editing can be used to treat genetic disorders.

What made you choose Monash Uni in particular?
Monash is an international university, boasting a multicultural community with vibrant campus life and amazing alumni. Monash also has a strong connection with other universities, which facilitates collaboration, such as the Group of Eight and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) alliances. Monash also wants their alumni to be job-ready and provides a lot of resources to achieve this, such as Career Connect and leadership programs. Monash is also highly ranked, particularly in life sciences. Geographically, Australia is also located relatively close to Indonesia (my home country), so it is pretty easy for me to visit my family back home.

What's your favourite aspect of studying science?
Science itself is a world of curiosity. Scientists get to think about questions based on previous findings and make their own research to reach new discoveries. This aspect of science stimulates me. I also love to try new things, so activities in the laboratory help me to try out new techniques.

What has been the highlight of your science degree so far?
I think a major breakthrough in my career pathway as a scientist is when I received the 2022 School of Biological Sciences Winter Research Scholarship to undertake a research project investigating a method of genome editing to treat a certain genetic disease. This is what I’ve been longing for throughout my degree. The program finished and I decided to continue my adventure in the lab by taking a GEN3990 (Genetics in Action Research Project) in the same lab, and potentially continuing until Honours.

What's the biggest misconception you had about studying science before you started your course?
That scientists cannot have fun. People always portray scientists as these busy, workaholic nerds who never enjoy their life and revolve their life around work. However, I think that the joy of science itself lies in the process of us reaching our objectives. The fun in science can lie in being able to be in the laboratory all day processing samples. Also, we are still able to rest, take time off and allow time for hobbies and connecting with loved ones.

If you were to give some advice to someone who's thinking about studying at Monash Science, what would you say?
Do it. Being a Monash science student provides you with heaps of opportunities that you can't get elsewhere. The faculty members are always keen to help you and the curriculum is designed to prepare you to become great scientists and researchers. You will have plenty of opportunities to meet new people and expand your network. Trust me, you will not regret your decision.

Give us a life hack or piece of advice you live by:
Always strive for the best. There is a saying from the first president of my country, Ir. Soekarno: “Hang your dreams as high as the sky can go. If you fall down, you’ll fall between the stars.” This motivates me to always keep my ambition and spirit up and try to be the best version of myself every day.