Focus on Pramod Subedi

For postdoctoral researcher, Dr Pramod Subedi, ‘research is an always evolving and constant adventure.’ Much like the ever-evolving Dr Subedi himself.

Pramod’s early life growing up in a small village in Nepal, attending a local school nestled in the picturesque hillside, was a million miles from the research hub of LIMS but a love of science was nurtured by his family.

After higher secondary school Pramod moved to Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, to undertake his Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from Pokhara University.

Working as a medical laboratory scientist in the temple town of Kathmandu, Pramod found his feet begin to itch for new travel experiences while his aspirations for a career in research science grew. In 2014 he found his way to Australia, enrolling in a Master of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at La Trobe University.

‘While adjusting to a new life and Australian culture, I was determined to maximise every opportunity to grow personally and professionally,’ said Dr Subedi.

Photo of Heras Lab

And grasp every opportunity he did. In his Master’s research year Pramod was offered the opportunity to work in the laboratory of Associate Professor Begoña Heras, at La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science (LIMS). In the Heras Lab (pictured) Pramod investigated the virulence role of a group of proteins in Gram-negative bacteria, which became the turning point of his research career.

With a Master’s degree up his sleeve and a drive to excel, Pramod was awarded a La Trobe University PhD scholarship to continue his work and pursue his PhD in the Heras Lab. As a post-doc this year, Dr Subedi investigated the proteins involved in bacterial pathogenesis and was part of a team developing novel anti-virulence drugs that interfere with bacterial pathogenic process.

‘Every day at LIMS I had the privilege of working with brilliant scientists who are extremely passionate about what they do. I have learnt so much from them; from how to be a better science communicator, to relevant scientific techniques that have allowed me to improve as a researcher.’

‘And LIMS provides advanced facilities and a collaborative environment, which means we are able to carry out world-class research. I feel so very grateful for my time at La Trobe, from the extraordinary mentors like Begona Heras, to having access to the incredible equipment at LIMS.’

Photo of Pramod Subedi's school

‘Coming from the remote yet beautiful western Himalayan region of Nepal I had very little access to technology. Since I started at La Trobe it felt like a dream has come true,’ smiles Dr Subedi. (Pictured adjacent is Pramod's primary and secondary school, Shree Sarbodaya Janak Higher Secondary School, Binamare, Baglung, Nepal.)

A dream that has culminated in several awards – such as the esteemed Nancy Millis Award for his PhD thesis in 2020 and the FAOBMB Young Scientist Program in 2021.

As a postdoctoral researcher in the early years of his career Dr Subedi is well positioned to offer advice for those considering postgraduate study including a Master’s degree or a PhD. ‘Try to maximise your skills and abilities in your studies. Find out what skills are in demand and focus your research on those, if possible.’

Pramod continues, ‘Treat science or research like a social activity. Talk to people about yourself, about your passion, and about your project. Ask others what their interests are. Attend meetings, conferences, workshops and be active in them. You will always have energy to do what you are passionate about, so find your passion. Research is always involving and a constant adventure.’

‘Most importantly of all, take care of your wellbeing. Be happy and spread happiness,’ encourages Pramod. Which can only be sound advice for anyone, no matter their career or stage in life.

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Pramod is an Adjunct Research Officer at La Trobe University.