The Huong (Kevin) Chau, Macquarie University
Kevin was part of the inaugural Melbourne Amgen Scholars Program cohort in 2020. Since the program, he has continued to pursue a research career. He graduated from a Master of Research in 2022 and is currently a PhD candidate in glycomics and glycoproteomics at Macquarie University.
His experience in the Amgen Scholars Program gave Kevin an insight and invaluable skills that he’s utilised in his ongoing research. Kevin says, “Working with Prof Gavin Reid in the lipidomics field also increased my interest in expanding my knowledge in the -omics research to other areas including glycomics and glycoproteomics. During my time at ASP, I strengthened a lot of lab skills that I had not had a chance to get my hands on during my Undergraduate. In addition, I was grateful to be exposed and make connections with plenty of academics as well as people working in the industry, which is definitely helpful for developing my career as a research scientist.”
Reflecting on the program, Kevin says he would recommend the program to any potential applicants after his experience: “I would highly recommend everyone to apply for this program as this is going to the lifetime experience that you are never going to forget. What would be greater than spending two months in Melbourne doing the things you love and making connections with other scholars sharing the same interest with you? The Amgen Scholars Program is a great experience to be exposed to the research and academic world.”
Kevin has gone on to receive multiple scholarships and awards in the few years since he attended ASP, including most recently the University Medal for Chemistry and Biomolecular Science. He continues to work with the Analytical Glycoimmunology Team at Macquarie University.
Yohaann Ghosh, Griffith University (Sydney University Alumni)
Our Amgen Scholars Program alumni have been able to utilise the skills gained through ASP in their careers, and Yohaann Ghosh is no exception. Yohaann worked with A/Prof Kathryn Stok during the 2020 Amgen Scholars Program, completing a project focused on tissue engineering for osteoarthritis.
Yohaann says the program continues to benefit him in the years after the program. “To this day I still reap benefits from my time as an Amgen Scholar be that in academia, industry or clinical practice. Moreover, I was able to develop lifelong friendships with fellow scholars who share the same passion and enthusiasm for biotechnology and life sciences research,” says Yohaann.
When asked what advice he would give to someone thinking about applying to the program, Yohaann says: “Just apply! As long as you’re keen and willing to turn up to the lab every morning then you’ll make the perfect Amgen Scholar. The benefits of the program extend way beyond your project alone. You’ll get to know industry leaders, learn how to present in front of large groups, and work as part of a research team – all highly transferable skills that aren’t taught in standard undergraduate curriculums.”
Furthermore, the Amgen Scholars Program was key in shaping his current career pathway. “The Amgen Scholars Program is the most well-funded and best-supported undergraduate research program in the southern hemisphere. The combination of practical lab experience and commercialisation training were the catalysts for my current pursuit in translational research – moving ideas from benchtop to bedside.”
Since the program, Yohaann has continued to study at dental school, teach anatomy & histology at Sydney Medical School, obtain further research scholarships in tissue engineering, published novel surgical techniques for facial reconstruction in peer-reviewed journals, and has had a textbook chapter recently accepted by Springer Nature for release in 2023.
Read more about Yohaann’s work here.
Thomas (Phu Minh Triet) Nguyen, the University of Adelaide
Amgen Scholars participants come to the program with many different motivations and inspirations. Thomas (Phu Minh Triet) Nguyen travelled from the University of Adelaide to undertake research after his mother experienced cancer when he was young. During his time in Melbourne, he investigated the underlying mechanism of intestinal cell death induced by tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) of the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) family using a simple cell line model, under the supervision of Professor Ross Bathgate.
“Something that motivates me to pursue this research is dedicating it to my mum, Thuy. She was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was pregnant with my little brother back in 2004. I still remember watching my mom suffering from severe side effects of the breast cancer treatment. I promised to myself to become a scientist to study the underlying mechanism of breast cancer treatment-induced gut toxicities so that the outcome of my research could contribute to a tiny part in helping patients with breast cancer like my mum.”
Thomas’s experiences at the Amgen Scholars Program were key in building his research skills and preparing him for further research. To prospective applicants, he advises: “Whether you are looking for your first hands-on experience or gaining more research experience in a particular research area of interest, go for it! Participating in the ASP is a once in-a-lifetime experience. It’s not only about academic achievement but also about professional and personal maturity.”
Thomas is now continuing to study, now completing his Masters degree and working as an academic tutor in physiology.
Inoli Wadumesthrige Don, University of Canterbury
“The amazing community that has been built amongst my fellow scholars and the opportunity to to gain a realistic view of life as a scientist – the program has solidified my interest in pursuing science as a career and becoming a scientist.”
Lavi Singh, University of the South Pacific
“My summer as an Amgen scholar was a key point in my undergraduate journey. It was my window into the world of academic research. I was able to immerse myself in the diverse community of scientists and explore research in an area I was interested in. I also made some of the most insightful and brilliant friends on the way.”