“Network as much as you can, meet as many people as possible, and make the effort to build a network of contacts as this will help you as much as your technical skills”
Dr Annabella Newton is a registered patent and trade marks attorney at Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick.
Annabella completed her PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Nottingham, where her studies were sponsored by AstraZeneca. In 2010, Annabella relocated to Melbourne to take up a postdoctoral fellowship at CSIRO, where she worked in collaboration with Professor Andrew Holmes at Bio21. She also worked in partnership with the University of Sydney’s Chemistry and Chemical Engineering departments. Her research career has produced several publications in high impact journals such as Chemical Science and the Journal of American Chemical Society.
Annabella changed careers in 2013 and joined the Chemistry and Life Sciences team at Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, one of Australia’s leading intellectual property law firms. She completed a Masters in Commercial Law at the University of Melbourne and registered as a patent and trade marks attorney in 2016. Annabella is interested in the strategic role of intellectual property (IP) in the commercialisation process, and assists clients by providing tailored IP advice aligned with their business objectives.
Annabella is also co-founder of the medtech startup Hemideina which investigates unique insect hearing systems and has led to the development of a new approach to hearing devices. Hemideina was an award winner at MedTech’s Got Talent 2016.
Annabella has always been involved in the wider scientific community, and is a member of the Executive Committee for Women in STEMM Australia and a past-President of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s Women in Chemistry group.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in science?
Network as much as you can, meet as many people as possible, and make the effort to build a network of contacts as this will help you as much as your technical skills.
If you have transitioned careers, what was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
Learning to think about scientific problems not just from a chemical perspective but also from a legal perspective has been challenging, but also really fun.
If you have done multiple types of roles (e.g. in industry, academia, education, business, government), what skills from your PhD could be applied to all?
My PhD taught me logical problem-solving, critical thinking, networking, presentation and communication skills as well as great tenacity and determination. All of these skills have helped me throughout my career at university, during my postdoc and now in law, and I have no doubt they will continue to serve me well.
What inspired you to science? Have you always liked science? What do you love most about science?
I have loved science since I was a child and I was fortunate to be inspired by fantastic teachers and by my amazing parents. I remember my dad trying to explain how the solar system worked with a desk lamp, an apple and an orange! The thing I love most about being a scientist is being able to understand how things work.
How do you cope with self-doubt? How do you cope with imposter syndrome?
It can be tough, but the realisation that it this is something that everyone suffers from is hugely comforting to me; it’s part of being a high achiever. I also have a wonderful network of supportive family and friends who seem to know the right thing to say during times of crisis.
LinkedIn: Annabella Newton