1st March, 2012
CCIA research officer, Santi Suryani, received a Leukaemia Foundation of Australia Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2012. We took a moment to talk with Santi about the Fellowship, her research projects and where her career is headed.
You were recently awarded a Leukaemia Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship - Congratulations! What does this mean for you?
It means a lot! In research, since the continuation of projects is highly dependent on grants and funding, having a fellowship means that I can continue my research project. At times it is sad to see a project with great potential going down the drain just because there's no funding for it.
Tell us a little bit about your research.
I work within the Leukaemia Biology Program at CCIA. My project is about understanding drug resistance and if we can predict if a drug will work well - or not work at all - in a patient before we administer it to them. This will help the doctors so that they know which medicine is best for a particular patient, and at the same time it will also help the patients so that they do not have to experience all the unnecessary side effects from ineffective drugs.
So what does this fellowship mean for you in terms of furthering your career?
It means that my track record is good and I am able to attract external funding. As a researcher, the calibre of my work is reflected by my track record such as publication records and awards. By securing external funding, it means my work is acknowledged by other well-known researchers and that I am capable of doing what I do. It always helps to have this kind of accolade in my track record as I continually try to secure funding. It also indicates that I am working in the right field, which is a great thing!
Where could this lead you in the future?
This will lead me on the right path to becoming an expert in cancer research, specifically leukaemia. This fellowship is an important milestone in my scientific career. It allows me to build my track record even further and gives me time to produce data that can help cancer patients as well as produce high calibre publications.
What role does the community play in supporting your research?
Research is a challenging job and requires not only monetary support from our community but also moral support. It is a great feeling if we know that the community is supporting what we do. Everything starts small, a smile from a donor or audiences when we are presenting on behalf of CCIA, means a lot! It also boosts our confidence and reminds us that we are making a difference in this world. Imagine dedicating your life to something and having no-one acknowledge what you do, that's a horrible thought!