STEMM PROFILE: Dr Raelene Endersby | Co-Group Leader, Brain Tumour Research | Telethon Kids Institute | Perth | WA
“… ask the big questions, and design as-near-to-perfect experiments as possible”
Dr Raelene Endersby co-leads the Brain Tumour Research Program at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, WA. Raelene was awarded her PhD in 2003 from the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research (formerly the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research) and undertook postdoctoral training in the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the USA.
Raelene was awarded a Fellowship in 2011 to return to Australia to establish the Brain Tumour Research Program at the Telethon Kids. This collaborative group of clinicians, neurosurgeons and laboratory scientists uses a suite of in vivo models to understand the effects of paediatric brain tumour mutations on normal brain development and tumorigenesis. Her team also investigates potential therapeutic targets and uses in vivo model systems to evaluate novel treatments prior to clinical trial. Raelene is a passionate advocate for science and actively promotes the value of medical research to the community at every opportunity.
What do you think is the most important character trait in a successful scientist?
What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful leader?
Generosity, mentorship, the ability to communicate at all levels, thinking outside the box, intuition, and a sprinkling of inspiration helps too.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in science?
I would give this advice to anyone starting a career in science – ask the big questions, and design as-near-to-perfect experiments as possible. These are most often the hardest experiments to do, but they will give you the answer you seek. There’s no point in mucking around and muddying the scientific literature with questionable data.
What is one thing you would change to improve the gender balance in senior ranks of scientists?
An acceptance that women have different approaches to men. They are not better or worse, just different. Organisations, especially academic ones, need to recognise that the most successful ones are often the most diverse. Diversity in leadership, whether it be in gender, race or other things, will empower greater success for all their staff.
What would you say is your most valuable personal attribute that has helped you succeed?
Stubborn determination, plus knowing when to acknowledge and admit my faults.
Follow Raelene on Twitter: @memphisnerd