2021 and beyond!

BBMED alumni share their insights and drivers - and how they have adapted to change in the face of a global pandemic.

Medicine and Research are career paths many of our graduates pursue – but there are many other paths the Bachelor of Biomedicine can take you.

In our recent careers webinar on 27 October we spoke with some of our remarkable alumni who – like you – have studied at the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Students and others attendees heard from Professor Jennifer Wilkinson-Berka (Head of School of Biomedical Sciences), Professor Megan Munsie (Deputy Director of the Centre for Stem Cell Systems) and a panel discussion with BBMED alumni Alexandre Guerin, Dr Hui-Fern Koay (Fern) and Dr Tom Scodellaro.

Keep your eyes open to the different possibilities around you and think about careers in research and medicine, in industry, in teaching and the many other avenues. And look out for great mentors, who can give advice and support

[Prof Jennifer Wilkinson-Berka]

The panelists emphasised non-traditional pathways available, the importance of strong networks and the people who have ultimately influenced and inspired them in their careers.

Final year PhD student Alexandre Guerin has felt the impact of COVID-19 this year – the clinical nature of his PhD meant he hasn’t been able to recruit participants for his study, couldn’t do his research trial and has had to put everything on hold. He also grappled with the decision of whether to stay in Australia – where his networks are – or head overseas. With the decision made for him as a result of the international travel ban, Alex got in touch with one of his contacts here in Melbourne and is now working as a Project Manager on three clinical trials at Orygen (Center for Youth Mental Health).

“Nothing ever goes the way it is planned in research. Research papers gets rejected but this may be just about timing - build resilience early on, detach from these things and don’t take it personally,” he says.

Dr Hui-Fern Koay (Fern), NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, spoke about her successful research career, good mentors, applying for scholarships and fellowships and the opportunities that come from working within the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct.

The typical research trajectory used to involve taking a post doctoral position overseas but this is changing. Technology and social media means knowledge sharing is much faster. Publishing is using preprint services and sharing of tools via technology. COVID-19 has accelerated this. And working within the Biomedical Precinct at Parkville you have access to world class training, research and experts – so you don’t need to go anywhere else

And Fern’s advice to students: “Remember to check in and recalibrate – internally with yourself and externally with your contacts and mentors. Are you happy with your research trajectory? Are you happy with your career path? Think about the transferable skills you can get from doing a PhD.”

For Dr Tom Scodellaro, Anaesthetics Registrar at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, it has been the power of personal contact which has propelled him forward. When studying his undergraduate degree he met a few doctors who he worked with and they were his biggest inspiration for pursing medicine.

A lot of experiences that Tom has valued most have been ‘off the main trail’. Through his medical degree Tom travelled a lot – he spent time in remote west Australia and indigenous health in Townsville, Alice springs and did an elective overseas as well.

If you show interest and pursue opportunities there’s a lot people willing to support you

You can connect with our alumni panelists - and find out more about their career pathways below.


Alexandre Guerin

Bachelor of Biomedicine alumni

Final year PhD candidate, University of Melbourne, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

After completing his Bachelor of Biomedicine (Degree with Honours) investigating the role of dopamine receptors in developmental psychiatric disorders, Alexandre Guerin went on to start a PhD under the supervision of A/Prof Jee Kim, Prof Susan Rossell, and Prof Andrew Lawrence. His doctoral research focused on investigating the association between the age of onset of drug use, genetic factors, early life adversity and cognition in people with substance use disorders.  Alexandre recently started working at Orygen (Center for Youth Mental Health) on a suite of clinical trials investigating new pharmacological interventions to treat substance use disorders in young people.

Connect on twitter @alex_guerin13


Dr Tom Scodellaro

Bachelor of Biomedicine alumni

Anaesthetics Registrar, Royal Melbourne Hospital

Tom is an Anaesthetics Registrar at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. After completing the Bachelor of Biomedicine in 2012, he went onto study Medicine at the University of Melbourne. Tom’s work and studies have taken him around Australia and the world, complemented by experience in clinical research, health information technology and medical education.

Connect on LinkedIn


Dr Hui-Fern Koay (Fern)

Bachelor of Biomedicine alumni

NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, Godfrey Laboratory, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Fern is a NHMRC Early Career Fellow in the Doherty Institute, where her research focuses on the fundamental immunology of unconventional T cells. She undertook her Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne, including an honours project at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Following that, Fern completed her PhD studies with Prof Dale Godfrey, investigating the development and function of unconventional T cells. Fern is actively involved in scientific communication and outreach through the Day of Immunology programs; and is an advocate for early career representation and diversity in the university.

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