“The most valuable personal attribute for me has been courage. The biggest challenges I have faced personally and professionally have required that I steel my resolve…”
Dr Pallave Dasari began her research career at Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, specialising in infectious diseases and Indigenous health, and is now with the University of Adelaide as an immunologist in breast cancer. Breast cancer is continuing to increase in Australia with very little public health strategies to reduce the rates. With her research, she is seeking to reduce breast cancer rates by understanding the role of the immune environment in the breast and if it is involved in cancer risk.
Pallave has interests in translating basic medical research for societal benefits; she is currently studying MSc in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University to be better equipped to address the challenges to translating research outcomes. She intends to couple the skills gained from this degree with her scientific background to her career. She is also the inaugural recipient of the Downer-Rann Scholarship from Carnegie Mellon University.
Pallave enjoys communicating science to the public through Science in the Pub Adelaide, Friends of Science in Medicine and other avenues. She is an active science communicator who wishes to infect the public with her passion and enthusiasm for science. Every month in Science in the Pub Adelaide, experts can discuss their work with the public over a beer. Pallave has been named as one of the “Superstars of STEM” by Science and Technology Australia, for her ability to communicate science and be a role model for women in STEM.
Pallave is a strongly believes that women belong in STEMM and should be encouraged to pursue their interest. She is surrounded by women who are curious and love being in STEMM, but this reality is rarely reflected in the media. She wants to break the stereotypes of female scientists in the media, if they think about female scientists. Women in STEMM can like heels and makeup, and still enjoy science. She would also like to increase visibility of women of colour as scientists, especially if they are wearing a sari in the lab.
What would you say is your most valuable personal attribute that has helped you succeed?
The most valuable personal attribute for me has been courage. The biggest challenges I have faced personally and professionally have required that I steel my resolve and step out to introduce myself to someone, face a large and critical audience, or submit an application for a promotion.
What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful leader?
A successful leader needs to be supportive, transparent, and persuasive. A leader doesn’t do the work, a leader supports the people doing the work and builds them to be excellent. Therefore a leader has to develop a nurturing and trusting relationship with their followers to achieve outcomes.
How do you cope with loss or rejection (e.g. rejected papers, non-funded grants, loss of personnel)?
I meditate to (try to) maintain a balanced mind and not take rejection personally. Meditation helps me with emotional regulation and remembering that life and careers will have ups and downs. It is easy to offer solutions, but to live this philosophy will be lifelong.
How can we foster a culture of STEMM innovation?
In my opinion, there needs to be stronger links between business and universities to develop a culture of STEMM innovation in Australia. There are strong silos between the sectors which is not creating a culture of innovation that Australia badly needs to face the challenges of a faltering economy.
Are you a science communicator? Why and how do you communicate?
I run Science in the Pub Adelaide since 2014 and participate in science communication in multiple platforms. I strongly believe that scientific research is the knowledge of humanity and it is the responsibility of scientists to pass on that knowledge. We are the tools to discover the knowledge, but it belongs to the world and not scientists.
LinkedIn: Pallave Dasari