La vie en rose

PhD Scholar Caitlin Gillis

Congratulations to one of our research assistants, Caitlin Gillis, who is off to Paris on a full scholarship to undertake a PhD at the Pasteur Institute.

Caitlin is one of only nine students selected from around the world for the highly competitive Pasteur – Paris University International Doctoral Program.

“Science is such an international discipline, especially at the Centenary Institute: there are people from all over the world working here,” Caitlin says.

Caitlin has been working in Professor Warwick Britton’s mycobacterial group, understanding how immune systems deal with tuberculosis infection.

She says her work at Centenary inspired her to do a doctorate, and she’s grateful to her colleagues for the experience of being able to work as a scientist straight out of her honours degree.

“Working at the Centenary Institute has given me practical experience, and I’m a much better scientist for it,” Caitlin says. “It will certainly serve me well when I start my PhD.”

Her project at the Pasteur Institute will focus on allergies, studying the mechanisms behind serious reaction, known as anaphylaxis. She’ll be using a mouse model of anaphylaxis caused by anaesthetics, trying to understand the mechanism behind serious allergic reactions and, she hopes, proposing ways of treating drug allergies.

“While I’m moving out of infectious disease into allergy research, it’s still all about understanding the immune system and how it works,” Caitlin says.

“The project sounded interesting and appealing, both scientifically engaging and clinically focused, which is something that I really wanted.”

Caitlin is heading home to the beaches of Northern Wollongong for the next few weeks. In the long run, she’ll come back to Australia. “The beach is what I’ll miss the most.”

“Going overseas, however, is a valuable career move, to see how things are done in other places, and to interact with people on a global scale.”