What has been the greatest change that you’ve seen in your time at QIMR Berghofer?
I could write a book about the things I have seen and the changes that have happened over my time at QIMR Berghofer. I started working in the old ‘war shack’ 45 years ago, and have seen the Institute grow through multiple new buildings since then. I started working when Ralph Doherty was the Director of the old QIMR and have since seen 6 Directors come and go. The biggest change over the decades has been the technology that is available for scientists to carry out their work.
What has surprised you the most, in relation to advances in research?
As part of Professor Rajiv Khanna’s group I have been blessed to be a part of the great advances he has led at QIMR Berghofer in cellular immunotherapies. I wouldn’t have even imagined when I started that it would be possible to grow someone’s white blood cells in tissue culture flasks then infuse them back into sick patients. It has been a pleasure to contribute to this work over the past couple of decades and be involved in multiple clinical trials under Professor Khanna’s leadership (to serve the ailing patients in Queensland).
If you were to hypothesise, where do you think medical research will be in another 75 years’ time?
While I have been at QIMR Berghofer for the last 45 years, I don’t expect that I will still be working here for the 150th anniversary! I do think that we might come full circle in another 75 years and be working on a lot of tropical diseases again due to climate change. I hope that some of the therapies we are working on today lead the way for new immunotherapies in the future to treat many different diseases.
Name two people, living or dead, you would want to sit next to at a dinner party?
Sir Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats. Believe it or not, I once played cards with Sir Bob in the airport! The other guest would be actor Frank Spencer from Some Mothers do ‘Ave ‘Em. ‘Ohh Betty!’
What’s the most exciting thing you are working on right now?
My current role is laboratory manager of the Tumour Immunology Group. Most of my days are spent making sure the lab runs efficiently and keeping everyone else out of trouble! We have a very dynamic group and the most exciting aspect of my work is contributing to the development of Professor Khanna’s immunotherapy work that is helping to provide new therapies for children and adults with cancer and infectious diseases.
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