Most of Kathy Parisi’s career has been spent at the interface of science and industry. She’s worked as a research assistant for AdAlta and Hexima – Australian biotech companies embedded in LIMS – and is now completing her PhD with Professor Marilyn Anderson.
A new program
No wonder Kathy jumped at the chance to take part in Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS), a program designed to improve graduate knowledge of industry and government through mentoring. Founded by La Trobe alumnus Dr Tony Radford AO, and Dr Paul Wood, the scheme involves 50 graduate researchers from four universities.
IMNIS participants attend workshops on networking, patenting, and pitching to industry. They are also assigned a mentor to provide advice on career pathways outside academia.
Kathy was mentored by Bronwyn Le Grice, the head of commercial development at Adherium, a global leader in digital health solutions for chronic respiratory disease. “Bronwyn and I discussed roles that I may like to pursue once I complete my PhD,” Kathy said. “She helped me mature as an employee, as did the IMNIS sessions, which emphasised the importance of making sure all bases, and experiments, are covered before pitching a product to investors.”
“My work in biotech companies has mostly taken place at the bench,” Kathy added. “IMNIS gave me insight into the management roles I would like to pursue when I finish my PhD.”
Molecules to market
It’s the “molecules to market” approach that Kathy enjoys most about the biotech industry. “Seeing an idea evolve in the laboratory, then watching it develop into a potential therapeutic is exciting and rewarding,” she said. “Research often talks about ‘possible therapeutic applications’, but industry is all about ensuring our molecules actually make it to market.”