International placements started

CFBD members Karol Sanches, Yildiz Tasdan and Jack Phelps (all Monash) have started their international placements as part of their ARC scholarships. While Karol has already completed her placement with TetraGenetics in Boston (USA), Yildiz and Jack are working at Vernalis in the UK. Here, Jack talks about his experience during his first couple of weeks:

“How time flies! It still feels like yesterday that I was saying goodbye to Melbourne and flying home to the UK to start my placement at Vernalis, Cambridge. I’ve now somehow been here for 3 months and am loving the experience of working in the industry. Of course, there are similarities (every day starts with coffee before setting up experiments), but also many notable differences. As expected (but slightly annoyingly) there’s a real sense that money, not discoveries themselves, is the driving force behind each project here, and when talking about my work it’s difficult to describe the end goal in terms of industry buyouts (which feels a long way off yet!). On a more personal note, the most exciting difference for me is on the technology side: All the columns are automatic and can be monitored remotely from your desk! Luckily, this is the case in protein purification too, as I’ve become much more of a biologist over the past couple of months. This brings me to the other major new experience in industry – not having to make up LB or wash/autoclave your own glassware! Call it laziness if you’d like, but I prefer to think of it as more time to spend doing the science… As well as protein science, I’ve also been fortunate enough to model protein sequences using AlphaFold and to start exploring crystallography.
All this being said though, I’m still missing the people at MIPS that kept me going during my PhD. With all the new helpful technicians and processes, there’s no substitute for the community of students and the city of Melbourne.”, Jack Phelps (Monash)

We will post more updates from Karol and Yildiz soon. Stay tuned!