Get active among the SBS EMCRA: Profiling Our Co-chairs

We’re highlighting the SBS EMCRA – The School of Biomedical Sciences Early-Mid Career Researchers and Academics - Association!

Our SBS EMCRA’s are Level A, B and/or C researchers, or who otherwise identify as an early career academic.

But they are so much more... they are our rising stars, the next generation of leaders, they are focussed, hardworking and are making a name for themselves in their discipline, they are working on global health challenges and are just a step away from changing the landscape, from a breakthrough, from advancing health for all of us.

We recognise that EMCRAs across all industries face various challenges... and that’s why EMCRAs need to stick together - to nurture a network that encourages socialisation, collaboration, professional development and career progression - core aims of the SBS EMCRA Association.

The SBS EMCRA Association also liaises with the Head of School and Research Committee as the voice of EMCRA staff helping to address issues facing Level A and B research and academic staff.

The SBS EMCRA Association is currently seeking Steering Committee members from each Department, and Co-chair representatives from the Department of Anatomy and Physiology and Biochemistry and Pharmacology. Contact sbs-emcra@unimelb.edu.au, or reach out to our Co-chairs.

Meet our SBS EMCRA Co-Chairs

I am an ARC DECRA Fellow within the Kedzierska Laboratory at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology where I lead the Aging Immunity Research Program. My research aims to unravel the mechanisms underlying gain-and-loss-of virus-specific T-cell function across human lifespan and in immunocompromised individuals. I plan to leverage this knowledge to rationally-design interventions aiming to restore or compensate impaired immunity and ultimately protect high-risk populations from severe diseases caused by seasonal and pandemic infections.

One of the first things I noticed when I joined the University of Melbourne in 2018, was the high degree of collaboration within and between Departments in the School. This was particularly encouraging at an EMCR level through initiatives from the SBS EMCRA Association. As incoming Co-chair, I am excited about contributing to the EMCR research community by continuing to organise those initiatives.

I believe it is important to ensure that EMCRs keep a voice at the School level and am looking forward to representing the EMCRs from the DMI.

I hope to do this with two enthusiastic Co-chairs from the DAP and DBP Departments, so if you are interested in the role and/or have additional questions feel free to reach out.

Dr Justin P Hardee, DAP (outgoing Co-chair), justin.hardee@unimelb.edu.au

I am an ARC DECRA Fellow within the Department of Anatomy and Physiology. My research aims to better understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle structure and function. The overarching research goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets and interventions for life-limiting conditions such as cancer and muscular dystrophies.

As a researcher at an academic institution, the SBS EMCRA Association has provided me with opportunities to gain experience in leadership and service.

In 2018 I joined the Steering Committee and have served as a Co-chair representative since 2021. In this capacity I advocated and led initiatives that support the professional and career development of EMCAs. I have also gained knowledge and skills through interactions with senior academic colleagues on committees, workshops and panels that will be invaluable to my academic and research career. I would recommend fellow EMCAs pursue similar leadership and service opportunities within the SBS EMCRA Association when appropriate.

Contact sbs-emcra@unimelb.edu.au or reach out to Carolien or Justin to learn how you can get involved.

And keep in mind these type of voluntary leadership roles can be favourably looked upon when included on grant applications!