Onisha Patel

Onisha is co-mentoring a team from Trafalgar High School

Onisha is co-mentoring a team from Trafalgar High School

I’m a structural biologist whose job is to visualise biomolecules including proteins in three dimensions in order to understand their function. I use Nobel prize winning techniques like X-ray crystallography and Cryo-electronmicroscopy to visualise and understand proteins that are important in health and disease. I’m passionate about the fusion of science and art to find creative ways to communicate about science (and proteins) to a wider audience.

  • Do you have a mentor or role model?

I do not have a specific role model but I’m usually inspired by people who find a way to lift themselves and thrive despite adversity and are not afraid to follow a path less taken. I grew up in India and my earliest role model was Kiran Mazumdar Shaw because she came to Australia in the 1970s to study brewing which was a very non-traditional career path for women! I admire my parents and grandparents who supported me to move to Australia for further education despite the adversity they have faced. In my current work I’m inspired by amazing women that I work with at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. I also look up to many women that I have connected with through networking events, conferences and social media who are passionate about supporting each other and speaking up on issues that affect women within and outside the STEM area.

  • How does your role model inspire you?

I’m inspired by role models to empower others by engaging in ‘pay it forward’, as this drives success of the society rather than just success of an individual.

Follow Onisha on Twitter @dr_opatel

For more information check out: https://www.wehi.edu.au/