Anna Gabrielyan

Researcher in the lab
After graduating from universities in Europe, Ms Anna Gabrielyan joined our Medical Biology PhD Program with support from our International PhD Scholar Initiative.

As well as investigating the intricate mechanisms that determine whether cells die or stay alive – a key process in many diseases, Anna has taken advantage of many opportunities to extend her career skills.

An innovative place to study

Researcher in the lab
Anna's research investigates how cell death is controlled,
and whether this can be targeted to treat cancer.

Having studied at Yerevan State University, Armenia, the University of Cadiz, Spain and the University of Southern Denmark, Anna decided to look further afield for her PhD studies – and learnt about our Medical Biology PhD Program and applied through our International PhD Scholar Initiative.

“The Institute is one of the Australia’s leading biomedical research organisations. I was very excited and impressed by its vision and the multidisciplinary, high impact research on offer,” she said.

Two researchers in a laboratory
Anna (right) with her PhD supervisor Dr Rebecca Feltham

Anna’s research, supervised by Dr Rebecca Feltham and Professor John Silke, focuses on the molecules that control whether cells live or die. “In cancer, cells’ programming has gone wrong. I am investigating whether this can be prevented or attenuated – which may lead to better approaches to treating cancer,” Anna said.

“I use a wide range of techniques in the laboratory – tissue culture, protein detection and analysis, immunoprecipitation, molecular biology, flow cytometry. I’m hoping that as my research progresses, I can also extend my skills to drug discovery. Every day is different and I’m often learning something new!”

“The Institute provides all the resources needed for scientists to conduct cutting-edge high-throughput research, and it’s a very collaborative, innovative place to study.”

Building career skills

Researcher in the lab
Anna has learnt a wide range of techniques during her PhD

As well as developing her research skills, Anna has taken up many of the opportunities to build broader capabilities that are available to our PhD students.

“I love volunteering, as it gives me new opportunities and perspectives on what I am passionate about.

"At the Institute I’ve volunteered for many science-related events including discovery tours, where we show visitors our laboratories and explain our research. It’s fantastic to share my knowledge with other scientists and the public.

“I’m also a scientist mentor at the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC), have undertaken an internship in the Institute’s Scientific Education Office, and was selected to take part in the EMBL Australia PhD course in 2018.”

After her PhD, Anna plans to take a position as a postdoctoral scientist. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything better than research, especially cancer research,” she said.

“I’m working with some of the world’s most creative and passionate scientists here at the Institute. It is a great privilege to learn from them and hopefully one day become one of them,” Anna said.