Conference and Professional Development Grant Recipient: Rebecca Poulos

6 November 2015
TCRN Conference & Professional Development Grant Recipient Rebecca Poulos

Rebecca Poulos is investigating regulatory mutations in cancer for a PhD project she is undertaking at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre. Supervised by Dr Jason Wong in the Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics group, Rebecca says her work is focused on bioinformatics, using public data sets to derive a better understanding of specific components of the human genome.

“I’m looking at mutations that occur in the non-coding genome, and specifically the portion of the genome that is responsible for regulating gene expression,” she said.

“My PhD is mainly focused on colorectal cancer, but the way that the data is made accessible means that we can actually look at public data from a bunch of different cancers. So we’re focusing on colorectal cancer and bringing in other mutational patterns in other cancers as well.”

To expand her research outlook, Rebecca applied for a TCRN Conference and Professional Development Grant to attend a European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Australia PhD Course in Perth. The course is aimed at first- and second-year PhD students, and provides an overview of a variety of areas in the field of molecular biology to equip participants with a clear understanding of the fundamental science underpinning their research. 

“Another PhD student on my floor had been last year, and she recommended it, and then I heard about it through the Graduate Research School newsletter, so I put in an application and was fortunate enough to get in,” Rebecca said.

“The course was absolutely fantastic. There were a couple of international speakers and lots of Australia-wide people from around the place, and then some Perth local scientists as well. And then there were also careers sessions and science communications workshops and that sort of thing, so it was a really useful course.”

As well as providing opportunities to expand her professional network and build relationships for potential research collaborations, Rebecca said that above all the course left her with a better understanding of basic scientific concepts that will enhance her research approach, now and into the future.

“Just gaining broad scientific knowledge was really useful. A lot of my work is kind of computational and using sequencing data, but then, when you find something you need to start thinking about where to take it.

“It was really helpful to have just an introduction and grounding on so many different areas, so I think as my research will inevitably expand, it will be helpful to understand the basics of lots of different areas of science.”

Grant snapshot:

Course: '2015 EMBL ("European Molecular Biology Laboratory") Australia PhD Course'
Location: Perth, WA
Funding Round: 2015 Round 2 - Professional Development; National 

Rebecca Poulos is a member of the Lowy Cancer Research Centre (Wet) member group based at UNSW Australia.

View the list of TCRN Conference and Professional Development grant recipients