STEMM PROFILE: Professor Linda Lua | Director, UQ Protein Expression Facility | University of Queensland | Brisbane | QLD

“If a leader genuinely has the best interest in growing and developing others into future leaders, and cares for them and not just what they can do, people will do more than what you ask”

Professor Linda Lua is the Founding Director of the UQ Protein Expression Facility at the University of Queensland (UQ). Linda leads a team of research specialists that is producing high-quality synthetic proteins to enable and support scientific discovery and translational research. She is internationally recognised for her research-enabling technologies to produce products that range from simple biomolecules to complex biomolecular assemblies such as multi-protein virus-like particles.

After earning her doctoral degree in 2001, Linda took up a UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with a focus on addressing industrial production challenges associated with a biological control agent against agricultural pests. In 2004 she founded the UQ Protein Expression Facility with an understanding on the integral of core research infrastructure in enabling high impact research and innovation. Since then, research groups across university, industry and government sectors, both nationally and internationally, have engaged the services of UQ Protein Expression facility to achieve their specific research goals.

Linda also applies her technology-focused research on vaccine engineering; addressing the speed, cost and efficacy of vaccine manufacturing. Her approach is to evolve technology to engage existing in-country infrastructure towards vaccine production, aims at improving the accessibility of vaccines, especially in developing countries. Improving vaccine accessibility in developing countries is close to Linda’s heart, as she is an active advocate and volunteer for community development and capacity building projects in low-income countries. She hopes her patented vaccine platform technology helps build skills and capacity in low-income countries.

What do you think is the most important character trait in a successful scientist?

Passion! Being passionate about what you do and doing what you love is much easier. Your passion will drive you to keep going when things get tough.

What would you say is your most valuable personal attribute that has helped you succeed?

I would say positivity. I learn to see the positives in most situations, learn from experiences and hope I do better next time. It helps surrounding myself with positive people.

What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful leader?

I believe in exemplary leadership and a leader should be actively developing others into leaders. People will follow wholeheartedly if the leader has credibility. If a leader genuinely has the best interest in growing and developing others into future leaders, and cares for them and not just what they can do, people will do more than what you ask.

What do you do to cope with the pressures and challenges of running a research team?

I try to be transparent with my team and share openly with them on the challenges and demands. It’s better if we come up with the solutions as a team and encourage ownership. We can’t go very far relying on my creativity alone.

Favourite past-times?

Three things that help me to disconnect from work – running, cooking and gardening. I find them therapeutic.

LinkedIn: Linda Lua

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