“An immensely transformative educational experience” - JCSMR hosts EMBL Australia PhD Course 2023

The 8th EMBL Australia PhD Course cohort EMBL Australia JCSMR
18 December 2023

The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) hosted the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Australia PhD Course 2023, an intensive two-week program run, for 60 early PhD students selected through a competitive process. This year’s program held from 20 November to 1 December.

Six students from the JCSMR were among the cohort Brooke Kinsela (Quinn Group), Michelle Chang (Arkell Group), Nick Bariesheff (Natoli Group), Agin Ravindran (Shirokikh/Eyras Group), Pathum Ekanayaka (Tscharke Group) and Raquel Hernandez (Enders Group).

The students were quick to share their experience on social media:

“I was fortunate to be chosen as one of the students to attend the EMBL Australia 2-week PhD Training course at the ANU in Canberra last week. It was an awesome experience with an incredible schedule, including workshops on flow cytometry and imaging techniques, lectures on science communication and bioinformatics, poster and three-minute thesis sessions, as well as multiple career panel discussions, to just name a few of my personal highlights.” – Janik S.

“The course was a whirlwind of cutting-edge science… provocative panel discussions, and conversations that went late into the night. It was an eye-opening journey that’ll be remembered for years to come.” – Jevin P.

“A fantastic platform for connecting with accomplished scientists, group leaders, and talented PhD students from across Australia. Their insights and experiences have significantly broadened my perspective.” – Dinithi R.

“[I was not] prepared for such an amazing experience” – Matteo G.

“Can’t forget the powerful talks given by Prof. Esperanza Martinez and A/Prof. Azure Hermes, who encouraged us to look up from our microscopes and consider how our science impacts our communities” – Julianne H.

“The impact of this experience went beyond the lecture halls. To my peers embarking on the early years of their PhD journey, I wholeheartedly recommend the EMBL Australia PhD Course” – Thilini B.

The success of the course reflected outstanding contributions from academics and professional staff from around Australia. The organisers and students acknowledge the tremendous efforts from and within the JCSMR, starting with Dr Steve Lee and Team (Dr Daniel Lim, Tienan Xu, Kieren Dyke and Dr Peter Johnson), who ran a comprehensive practical workshop on label-free imaging. Associate Professor Amee George and Team (Dr Jinshu He and Rachel Leonard), who demonstrated the power of high-content imaging, in their thoughtfully crafted Drug Discovery workshop. Also acknowledge Mick Devoy and Dr Harpreet Vohra, who opened their facility to support a Cytek-led workshop on multiparametric flow cytometry.

The following JCSMR academics joined with the guest speakers to deliver exceptional course content. Professor Eduardo Eyras (Characterising the (epi)transcriptome at single-molecule resolution with long-read sequencing), Professor Adam Perriman (Engineered Living Materials), Dr Nathan Reynolds (Chat GPT: applications in medical, health and science research), and Professor Ross Hannan (First in Class RNA Polymerase I inhibitors). NCIG Deputy Director Associate Professor Azure Hermes, was also appreciated for her deeply impactful talk (Indigenous Genomics – The Power Community Consultation) at the program.

With support from ANU College of Health and Medicine, ‘Creative Careers’, a special feature of the EMBLA course which was open to all JCSMR students and ECRs was also hosted. Professor David Tscharke’s CV Building Workshop received stellar praise and was supported by inspiring career talks from Dr Ines Atmosukarto, Associate Professor Amee George, Professor Si Ming Man and Dillon Hammill.

The 8th EMBL Australia PhD course was made possible by the JCSMR organising committee Dr Teresa Bonello (Scientific Co-Chair), Professor Eduardo Eyras and Professor Michael Dobbie, working closely with the external EMBL Australia team. The team made special thanks to Anna Orlov for her contributions, commitment, and care as course administrator. Also appreciated the entire JCSMR community for supporting the course from session chairs to 3MT competition judges.

An important reminder for incoming or first year PhD students; keep your eyes peeled for the 9th EMBL Australia PhD Course – applications opening March/April 2024.

JCSMR academics join a stellar line-up of invited speakers to deliver the Course content. 

Peering down the microscope in one of the practical workshops led by Dr Steve Lee and team

Top Left, Bottom Right: JCSMR academics join the students for a vigorous poster discussion. Top Right: Q&A discussion with Prof. Brian Schmidt, led by Dr Teresa Bonello. Bottom Left: Exploring key concepts around DEI - conversation led by Professor Elizabeth Gardiner. 

JCSMR students and ECRs join the EMBLA PhD Course for 'Creative Careers', a jam-packed event, including a CV building workshop by Prof. David Tscharke. 

Smiles from the organisers, speakers, sessions chairs, judges and volunteers, at the EMBLA PhD Course Closing Dinner. 

Lifelong friends. Students at the EMBLA PhD Course Closing Dinner. Bottom Left. Nick Bariesheff, takes 1st place for the 3MT competition. Bottom Right. 3MT competition runner-up, Brooke Kinsela.