Priyanka Dey

Posted July 24 2018

Faculty: School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering, Science and Engineering Faculty
Year graduated: 2014
Thesis: Hybrid polymer/metal nanoparticles with surface enhanced Raman tracking for potential use in nanomedicine
Career category: academic

What position are you currently in?
I am currently working as a Senior Postdoctoral research fellow in University of Exeter, UK. After spending 3 years in Germany and Spain working towards developing optical nanomaterials for biosensing applications, my current role focuses on employing such smart nanomaterials for breast and skin cancer diagnostics.

Could you reflect on what the value of doing a PhD at QUT has been for you?

I have hugely benefited from the skills that I developed during my PhD in QUT in nanomaterial synthesis, characterisation and applications. I mostly value the confidence that it has instilled in me as a part of QUT´s policy of out-of-the box thinking, giving talks in international conferences, improving my writing skills for peer-reviewed publications, as well as in organising RACI student symposiums. I have found myself appreciating all such attributes throughout my research career.

What is your current career goal?
As a chemist and a real-life application enthusiast, I have been steering my career to develop nanomaterials for biosensors in varied forms including lab-on-a-chip sensors (like glucometers) or in vivo sensors (like contrast or imaging agents). Down the line, I would like to carry on lab research in biosensors and be able to translate that into commercial products for the benefit of the society. I am presently working towards that goal.

What is the most valuable piece of advice would you give to someone who has recently completed their PhD at QUT?

Doing a PhD can take a toll on you, so firstly, appreciate yourself for the hard work you have put in. Everybody has a different interest to follow, which takes them in various directions, so do some brainstorming with people positioned in different fields – like postdocs in academia, your peers in industry – and identify your interests. If you want to pursue postdoctoral research (academia or industry) try to identify the skill set you would like to develop and try finding opportunities to build on them. If you attempt academic research (which is my case) be open to different research groups which enhances and/or complements your skills. And most importantly, get to know new people and develop your networks.

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