Winners 2019 report

In Sept 2019, two outstanding MDHS researchers – PhD candidates Ghazala Naureen (Department of Medicine – Western Health) working on the development of an evidence-based self-administered Vitamin D screening tool and Jing Cai (Melbourne Dental School) working on approaches for preventing dental root caries  were awarded University of Melbourne travel scholarships to attend the International SPARK Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship training course in Sydney.

This course, based on the SPARK Stanford program aims to advance biomedical research discoveries into promising new treatments, by fostering the next generation of biomedical entrepreneurs. SPARK emphasises new ways of thinking to bridge the gap between bench and bedside.

Ghazala and Jing joined over 20 PhD candidates from around the world in attending this 14-day training course.

“SPARK is truly training people who can change the world in some way. Participants are taught how to be able to innovate in their own field for unmet medical needs and impact the lives of patients. The connections made during this course will enable collaboration with like-minded scientists from diverse backgrounds from around world”, said Ghazala Naureen.

“Another important aspect of this course was learning through lectures on different topics related to product development (e.g. Intellectual Property Rights, Regulatory Affairs, Venture Capital) about alternative career paths for Biomedical Science PhD graduates in industry”.

“This course has made me excited about embarking on a career in translational research in the future”.

Jing Cai agrees. “The two-week journey of SPARK course was an in-depth immersive experience in translational research (i.e. taking a lab discovery, developing it into a product and taking it to market). It was an unforgettable experience of developing an innovative mindset, enjoying the spirit of teamwork and getting connected with amazing and talented people from multiple disciplines and diverse backgrounds worldwide”.

For more information about SPARK or to find out what the Faculty is doing to help researchers realise their ambitions in research translation and/or commercialisation, please visit Innovation and Enterprise.

Jing Cai Ghazala Naureen