We had a chat with Amy Chan, winner of the People’s Choice 2018 Queensland Women in STEM Prize, to get the low down on what she’s been doing since winning the award last year.
Amy is a PhD student at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, at the University of Queensland. She is researching septic shock, which is a devastating disease that is particularly dangerous for children and the elderly. Septic shock kills more people each year than breast or prostate cancer. While studying a PhD keeps her busy progressing research that will help sepsis patients, Amy is also involved with outreach and community engagement projects within the science community.
How did you spend your prize money?
I used the prize money to attend several professional development courses and conferences, including the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) Inflammasome workshop in Munich, where I represented inflammation research from the University of Queensland. This was an important event because this conference involved leading researchers from around the world in the inflammasome field. I also presented a poster of my research and won an award for my presentation! While overseas, I also visited the University of Lausanne and made important international networks that I may be able to work with in the future.
Tell us about your science engagement activities
Thanks to the exposure I’ve been given with the Queensland Women in STEM Prize, I have been invited to speak at events hosted by not-for-profit organisations, schools, and businesses right across Queensland. Just recently I was invited to speak at Glennie’s Girl School in Toowoomba about my academic journey, and hopefuly inspire young women to enter the STEM field.
I am an active member of Girl Shaped Flames, an organisation that help school girls liaise with female industry or academic professionals. I have run several workshops and participated in panel discussions with Girl Shaped Flames, and my involvement is still ongoing. I have also been invited by the Business Liaison Association in Cairns to present my work to schools in northern Queensland. I am also an active Young Science Ambassador with the Wonder of Science program to promote STEM and inquiry-based learning in Queensland schools. This was also my fourth year as a volunteer at the World Science Festival Brisbane!
What’s next for you?
My main focus right now writing my thesis and finalising my PhD — hopefully graduation will follow soon! I am also working on a new teaching project to design course material at The University of Queensland and plan to be involved in more outreach and community engagement opportunities in the future!
You’re a wonderful role model for girls. What’s your advice to girls considering STEM?
Go for it! STEM paths are a lot of hard work, but very fun. If you have the determination, perseverance and passion, I think you’ll find STEM very rewarding.
Amy Chan is currently completing her PhD with IMB's inflammasome lab. Her current project attempts to unravel the mysteries of the little understood “non-canonical” inflammasome, a driver of persistent inflammation...
Amy Chan is currently completing her PhD with IMB's inflammasome lab. Her current project attempts to unravel the mysteries of the little understood “non-canonical” inflammasome, a driver of persistent inflammation that has been linked to diseases like Alzheimers, type-two diabetes, Parkinson's and arthritis.
To find out more about Amy’s journey, visit her twitter @amy_chancan
The 2020 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is now open.
It is presented by the Queensland Museum, Queensland Government and BHP Foundation.
Winners will be announced in March during World Science Festival Brisbane.