Happy New Year! Nanotech, biology and Real Scientists with Upulie

Greetings from the @RealSciMods of @realscientists! We hope that you had a splendid and safe holiday season and wish you the very best of 2017.

I’m Upulie Divisekera (@upulie), one of the co-founders and @RealSciMods, tweeting from the account this week. I’m one of the co-founders of this project; having set it up in February 2013 after our friend Bernard Keeley gave us the idea for a science rotational curation account. It’s been amazing to watch it grow and to meet all the incredible curators we’ve had. I also haven’t tweeted much on this account for about three years! Probably overdue for a run.

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This NASA jacket comes form @AstroKatie and sometimes I do remember to take it off.

I live in Melbourne, Australia, where I’m a PhD student in chemical engineering. I started out wanting to be an astronomer but ended up changing my mind once I learned about genetic engineering. I’m a molecular biologist by training. Before starting my PhD, I worked as a research assistant in various fields, mostly in cancer immunology research. In Australia, we have an Honours year which is a year-long research project; like a mini-PhD; mine was studying the parasite Leishmania.  I worked at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Prof Andreas Strasser’s lab with Dr Lorraine O’Reilly for a few years; studying apoptosis and making antibodies. I also spent 2 1/2 years in Canberra at the Australian National University, working in Drosophila research; still with a focus on applications in cancer biology. Before my PhD, I worked with Dr John Stagg on cancer immunotherapies, looking at whether CD73 would make a good drug target, some of the most fascinating and rewarding research I’ve ever done. Now, I work in nanotechnology, looking to design nanoparticles to treat diseases. Nanotechnology and engineering is a new experience, it’s so wonderfully creative, and requires that you learn many different skills.  You can take the properties of materials and figure out different ways to apply them, or design new devices based on these proprties. I’m still fascinated by molecular biology, though and science broadly, since I’m still a frustrated astronomer.

 

Most of my ‘spare time’ is spent in science communication. If I’m not working on @realscientists, I’m communicating science to whoever will listen, either on twitter, radio, and on rare occasions, TV. Occasionally I will write an article but that’s fallen a bit by the wayside since I am [supposed to be] writing my thesis. Apart from that, I love cake and junk food, literature, Star Wars, starting craft projects I keep forgetting to finish, and trying to learn physics for fun.

 

We’re doing a few things differently this year, and we’d like to hear more about what you’d like to see at Real Scientists, what kinds of topics, and if you’re interested in events and so on. We’re heading towards our fourth birthday in February 2017 as well, and looking forward to celebrating that with you.

 

 

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