Perfect pitch prize winner


Centenary Institute PhD candidate Ms Aster Pijning has won the jury’s vote for first prize as well as the people’s choice prize for her efforts at the Sydney Catalyst Perfect Pitch Competition.

The competition was a chance for participating researchers to refine their ‘elevator pitch’ and to describe their research skills and experience to a virtual audience and a panel of judges in 60 seconds.

“For my PhD research I’m studying the molecular mechanisms of thrombosis, and I have discovered a new regulatory pathway that fine tunes how and when blood clots form. We now want to look into why this control mechanism is absent in cancer associated thrombosis,” said Ms Pijning

“In the 60 seconds, I spoke about my research, as well as my passion for understanding the biological origins of disease with the goal of unravelling disease complexity for the benefit of the patient.”

“The pitch really forced me to think about what parts of my research would be interesting for people to hear, excluding any scientific jargon, and also to think about my personal motivations for doing what I do,” she said.

This was Aster’s winning pitch:

Hi, my name is Aster and I’m a PhD student studying the molecular mechanisms behind cancer-associated blood clotting.

Did you know that people with cancer are 5 times more likely to develop obstructive blood clots?

10 years ago, I lost a close friend to an unknown disease. I found it incredible that we understand so much, and yet so little, of our own biology. My passion lies in understanding the biological origins of disease and unravelling its complexity for the benefit of the patient. I have learned to combine my knowledge of highly specialized techniques to look at blood clotting at a single molecule level. In doing so I have discovered a new control mechanism that finetunes how and when blood clots form.

I now want to understand how this control mechanism is lost in cancer, with the goal of identifying people at risk of cancer associated blood clotting as early as possible.

I rely on both patients and healthy people to donate their blood for my research. Would you want to be a part of this discovery by donating yours?

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