15 Dec 2020

Translational Research and Medicine program building on successes

Gemma Hartley, PhD student, describes her TRM experience
in the Immunology pathway. See video

by Matt Cull

Monash University is creating a first of its kind training program for postgraduate students, aimed at driving innovative new medical ideas to market.

Three TRM students describe how they have been finding the experience.

The Translational Research and Medicine (TRM) program at Monash offers graduate research students unique opportunities to gain experience in their field beyond academia, by making industry connections and conducting research that translates into real-world outcomes.

“I picked TRM to improve my understanding of how research is viewed and conducted in industry as opposed to academia,” said PhD candidate Pia Campagna.

Pia Campagna, PhD student, describes her TRM experience
in the Bioinformatics pathway. See video

“Most students are going to leave academia at some point, so I thought it was important to understand the business and commercialization side.”
Pia is pursuing her doctoral degree in the Department of Neuroscience. She chose the Bioinformatics strand, which is one of three new disciplines that Monash is offering in 2020 as a TRM pathway for doctoral candidates. These units are centered around rapidly growing fields in the medical industry: neuroscience, immunology and bioinformatics.
To support these units, Monash University has partnered with numerous research institutes and health services to offer a unique training program for PhD students looking to pursue postdoctoral careers in medical research. These partnerships help foster one of TRM’s key elements: translating research findings and clinical trials into real-world, patient-driven outcomes.
“It’s just so translatable and so relevant for everyone. The research we’re doing can go straight into patients and can make a real difference,” said Ms Gemma Hartley, a PhD candidate studying immunology through the TRM pathway. [See video]
With its focus on practical industry experience, Monash’s TRM courses boast a broad array of experienced lecturers who provide crucial knowledge and connections for students.
“The highlight of TRM for me has been the diversity of lecturers available,” Gemma said. “The lecturers presented their own research and explained it in a very thought-out manner. It shows the diversity we have and the breadth of knowledge we have in Monash.”
“Expanding our networks with our lecturers who are experts in the field both inside and outside of academia” has been a highlight of the course, Pia added.
These expert lecturers are a key resource for Monash PhD candidates, providing a gateway to some of the cutting edge medical research being conducted in Melbourne.
“It opens your eyes to all these different projects that are going on in Melbourne, and can allow you to make contacts and collaborations in the future as well,” Gemma said.
Sharmony Kelly, PhD student, describes her TRM experience
in the Neuroscience pathway. See video

“We hear from the top researchers in their field,” added Ms Sharmony Kelly, a PhD candidate studying neuroscience. “It really gives you the bigger picture in what’s happening in translational neuroscience outside of your own little niche.”
Similar to immunology and bioinformatics, the neuroscience strand of TRM has an intensive focus on patient-focused research projects including therapies for multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and other autoimmune disorders. Monash has partnered with several clinics and medical research groups such as Alfred Health to conduct research and clinical trials across a range of neurological disorders.
“I would definitely recommend this unit to all future students,” Sharmony said. “Even if you don’t come from a neuroscience background.”
The Monash Translational Research and Medicine program was designed with flexibility in mind and will continue to be offered as an online class beyond 2020.
To find out more, please visit us: 

 Or contact the Clinical Research and Translational Medicine education team:
Dr Jessica Borger
TRM Course Coordinator
E: ccs.hdr@monash.edu

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