Centenary Institute’s cancer researcher offers sage advice for aspiring female scientists

Centenary Institute’s cancer researcher offers sage advice for aspiring female scientists

Dr. Jessamy Tiffen, a senior member of the Centenary Institute’s Melanoma Immunology and Oncology Program has some sage advice for aspiring female scientists in advance of this year’s ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’. Dr. Jessamy Tiffen, Centenary Institute A career in science can be exciting and fulfilling and gives you the potential to make a real impact in the world. There will be barriers to overcome but if you have a curiosity about the world we live in and are prepared to work hard, you might just be amazed where your scientific career can take you.” Dr. Jessamy Tiffen, senior member of the Centenary Institute’s Melanoma Immunology and Oncology Program ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’ held on the 11th February each year is part of a United Nations General Assembly resolution officially recognizing the critical role that women and girls play in science and technology. The UN hopes to see full and equal access and participation in science, for women and girls across the globe. Cancer researcher As a scientist at the Centenary Institute, Jessamy is focused on trying to better understand melanoma, a devastating disease responsible for more than 1,700 deaths each year in Australia. Jessamy seeks to understand why certain melanomas respond to treatment in some individuals while other melanomas do not. “Melanoma is the most common form of cancer affecting young Australians which is extremely sad but which is also extremely motivating,” she says. “Understanding the mechanics behind melanoma treatment resistance is essential to developing new drugs and finding new cures which will help save lives.” Jessamy credits some of her early interest in science from her grandfather who was a microbiologist. “We used to talk about his work around the kitchen table and discuss his latest findings (on footrot!) so the importance and need for research and scientists was communicated to me at an extremely early age. His love of science certainly rubbed off on me,” she says. Teachers as role models It was at school however where Jessamy really became captivated by science and much of this was due to the teachers that she was fortunate enough to encounter. I had a series of fantastic female science teachers who were extremely passionate about their work and who were absolutely committed to their students. They were all so positive and allowed my curiosity to flourish. They also helped me to believe in myself – to realize that I was good enough to take my science to a higher level and that there would be career opportunities out there for me. Looking back, I realize how essential it was, having such supportive female teachers encouraging me at such a formative stage of my life.” Dr. Jessamy Tiffen



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