Studying science at UNSW

Science means business

By Rachael Oku

Research outcomes in the life sciences can have a huge impact.

UNSW Australia graduate and entrepreneur Dr Elisa Mokany says bringing together biological, environmental and medical sciences can change humankind.

“Research in the life sciences has a huge impact on our health. Without amazing developments in this area, we’d still be having surgery without anaesthesia or dying of smallpox,” she says.

While working in industry research, Elisa was involved in the commercialisation of a method to detect certain combinations of genes associated with disease.

“We applied the technology to the detection of leukaemia, predicting relapse of a patient up to six months earlier,” she says.

Elisa followed up her industry experience with a postgrad degree at UNSW, where she had her proudest moment. With Dr Alison Todd, she co-invented MNAzymes, a new DNA enzyme that transforms the way we detect DNA.

Elisa has made a career of combining business with science, joining forces with Alison once again to set up medical diagnostic company SpeeDx, which uses MNAzymes “to develop diagnostic kits that test for viruses and bacteria associated with infectious diseases like meningitis”.

According to Dr Gavin Edwards, Associate Dean of the UNSW Faculty of Science, business and science go hand-in-hand. He adds that employers are searching for “flexible, open-minded people, who can adapt to new technology and think holistically and critically.”

TO GET THERE: Bachelor of Science at UNSW Australia
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