ORIGINS Biobank Manager is inspiring women and girls
Telethon Kids Institute recently celebrated International Women and Girls in Science Day by featuring some of the incredible women who contribute to the world-class research that takes place at Telethon Kids on their social media channels.
Dr Nina D’Vaz, The ORIGINS Project’s Biobank Manager was one of these inspirational women.
Meet Dr Nina D’Vaz:
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in Denmark in a family of researchers and was introduced, at a very young age, to the exciting possibilities of travel and living abroad through my parents’ research career choices.
Your role with The ORIGINS Project
Manager of The ORIGINS Project Biobank, which contains over 200,000 biological samples (such as placentas, blood, faeces and house dust) from 5,000 families who have joined the project since its beginning in 2016.
It’s a busy and challenging role and can be likened to keeping a large puzzle of staff, participants, samples and freezers in four different locations in meticulous order, so that samples are stored appropriately for custom-designed research projects.
Honours degree in Biological Science and Clinical Immunology from Copenhagen University, Denmark and a PhD in Clinical Immunology though UWA in Perth, WA. I have worked in laboratory and science environments since the age of 19 at universities, hospitals, commercial companies and not-for-profit organisations.
What advice would you give to aspiring scientists?
If you are driven by curiosity and a desire to improve the health and wellbeing of children and adults of all ages, communities and the environment, a career in science is likely to suit and satisfy you. Importantly for many women, a science career has a high degree of flexibility and is compatible with family life if you are considering having children.
What is your greatest achievement or breakthrough?
One of my greatest achievement is also having raised three children while maintaining a meaningful and exciting career amongst likeminded, inspiring and dedicated colleagues. Specifically, being able to contribute to allergy research in young children through ORIGINS has been of great importance to me. I am also extremely proud to be contributing to COVID research, looking at the impacts of this global pandemic on families within The ORIGINS Project with our COCOON study.
What are your aspirations?
I aspire to continue working towards improving the health of children and understanding the origins of factors contributing to the worldwide increase in non-communicable diseases. It is important to me that I do this while still ensuring I am there for my family and balance my time and dedication to my adult children with my career.