SPARK Travel Scholarship winners

Two MDHS researchers will soon be on their way to Berlin after being awarded University of Melbourne travel scholarships for the SPARK Global program for emerging biomedical entrepreneurs.

The program, developed at Stanford University School of Medicine in 2006, aims to advance biomedical research discoveries into promising new treatments, by fostering the next generation of biomedical entrepreneurs. Stanford is synonymous with Design Thinking, which is all about impact on the end-user of a service, product or process.

Early Career Researcher John Karas, from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, says his long-term goal is to play a leading role in the development of new antibiotics, and developing glucose-responsive insulin therapies for the effective management of type 1 diabetes.

"I am excited to be participating in the SPARK Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Course. This opportunity will help to improve my skills in developing creative solutions that will address unmet medical needs and ultimately lead to better public health outcomes."

Lisseth Burbano-Portilla, who is her third year of a PhD  in the Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health, says she was motivated to apply for the program because of the need for safer treatments and better diagnostic tools for neurology patients.

"My long-term goal is to become a clinician-scientist and work in translational research," she says. "The genetic forms of epilepsy are a clear example of a disease where wet lab approaches can greatly help the diagnosis and treatment.

"I also want to improve my ability to pitch ideas to investors. I look forward to meeting with biomedical innovators from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds which I hope will lead to future international collaborations. I expect that after completing the SPARK training course I will have more tools to identify gaps in the clinic that can be addressed in the lab ... [and] as science is a team game, I expect to connect with other researchers with whom I can work in the future."

More Info: SPARK Global