therese_seldon in the labTherese Seldon has gone on from UQ to become the Director of Product Development of an international biosciences company that is developing products to improve the care of critically ill hospital patients. 

During her Biotechnology Honours degree, Therese took advantage of the School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences’ industry placement program to complete part of her Honours project at PanBio (now Alere), a Brisbane biotechnology company.

“I chose UQ because the program offered intellectual rigor, ‘real-world’ research and industry connections,” said Therese.

“The Honours placement gave me an applied research experience that aligned well with my career aspirations.”

Therese proceeded to complete a UQ PhD at the Mater Medical Research Institute (now part of the Translational Research Institute). She selected an applied research project involving the engineering of antibodies for immunotherapy.

“UQ was committed to tailoring the program to suit my individual needs,” said Therese.

“For example, I studied at the UQ Business School to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Technology and Innovation Management whilst completing my PhD. This course enabled me to learn about commercialising science and identifying the real-world applications of my research.”

A member of the student chapter of industry association, AusBiotech, during her studies, Therese won an AusBiotech Student Excellence Award and went on to win a UniQuest Trailblazer Student Award and a Women in Technology PhD Career Start Award, along with a number of scholarships.

She obtained funds to complete a two-month research project at the University of California, San Francisco. “This project was a tremendous professional experience – expanding my network of contacts, enhancing the quality of my thesis and ultimately helping land a job in the U.S.,” she said.

Towards the end of her PhD, Therese was offered a research scientist job with CSL Ltd in the Antibody Technologies Division in Melbourne.

She also attended the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship (now the Stanford Ignite Program) at Stanford University, funded by UQ.

“From this experience, I realised my future lay in working as part of a small, dynamic team seeking to solve global healthcare challenges,” said Therese.

“Consequently, in 2012, I joined Immunexpress, a start-up diagnostics company with a technology that promises to revolutionise healthcare delivery to patients with infection, inflammation and sepsis around the world.”

“Networking is very important in biotechnology,” said Therese. “I met my current boss, Dr Roz Brandon (also a UQ alumna) at an AusBiotech industry event. Roz is an exceptional scientist, entrepreneur and mentor.”

Therese said that she enjoys the challenge and fast-paced environment of commercialisation and aspires to continue to work across a range of leadership roles and science-based ventures in the future.

When asked if she had any advice to offer to students wanting to follow a path similar to hers, Therese responded, “Seek out opportunities at every turn – there are plenty to be found at UQ!”

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