Anjali Gaur

From her launching pad at Melbourne, science graduate Anjali Gaur has travelled all over the world. Her Bachelor in Science, Gaur says, is her passport to the world and it’s full of stamps.

Currently working towards her PhD at the University of Pavia, Italy, Anjali has also studied and worked in England, Hong Kong, Sweden and Bali.

“Since day one of my degree at Melbourne, I’ve been living my dream. I absolutely loved the campus and one of the things I will forever cherish is just the experience of being part of such a great university”, she says.

Gaur graduated at Melbourne in 2010, and says the three years she spent at the University set up her career.

The course itself, she says, was “perfect”. The opportunities that breadth subjects provide were particularly helpful, she adds.

“I also tried philosophy and a few other subjects. I remember when I was travelling around Greece and I knew all about the famous Greek philosophers from my course, Philosophy of Biology.

“I did not just get a BSc degree from Unimelb, but I also learnt how to socialise, become a leader in certain situations, and be curious to learn topics out of the curriculum. Education is indeed a gift that keeps on giving.”

At University of Pavia, Anjali is part of a consortium of European academic research centers, diagnostic labs, blood supply centers, and small companies that work to improve prognostic, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for mature red blood cells.

“Early stage researchers will be trained at 13 different partner institutes in many aspects of red cell physiology,” she says.

Anjali ‘s PhD is focused on red cell biology and ageing.

Despite her list of international achievements, Anjali says landing her first job wasn’t as easy or as fast as she had hoped. Despite that hurdle, Gaur says she made the most of the time and kept herself busy learning new skills.

“It took me some time to get a job after graduating, so I would suggest others to have more patience during job applications and not doubt their choice of career.

“While I was waiting to get a job, I decided to do a course in Bali and became certified English teacher. I would suggest everyone to pick a new hobby or a new skill while waiting for a job, because once you get started, there will not be enough time to try new things.”

At the University of Pavia, Gaur is the recipient of a Marie Curie scholarship and from her base, is able to indulge in her love of travel.

“While working full time as a researcher, I have managed to travel a lot around Europe. I always learn something new while traveling to a new place and meet new people. In the past two years I have visited around 30 countries in Europe and that is something I will always cherish.

Gaur is now set to travel to Zurich for two months, followed by Amsterdam to learn new techniques related to red blood cell ageing. After studying Communications in Science at Melbourne, Gaur discovered writing and that is something she is passionate about.

“I really enjoy writing; I hope to write a book one day, and this is providing me with a lot of training as writer.”

Although she is now living on the other side of the world, Gaur says that Dr Leon Helfenbaum, who taught her biochemistry laboratory techniques subject at Melbourne, remains an influential figure.

“He really inspired me a lot. I still have all my notes to refer to whenever I need to revise molecular cloning techniques, and that course was one of the main reasons why I got interested in wet-lab research,” she says.

“It is really important to have good mentor to guide and inspire students to pick the right path, and in my case the credit goes to Dr Helfenbaum.”

Simply living in Melbourne, Gaur says, also remains a memorable experience, including the campus and nearby suburbs.

“Studying in Melbourne was a very beautiful experience for me; I got a taste of several cultures while I was in Melbourne and Lygon Street sparked my obsession with Italy.

“Melbourne is like a breath of fresh air, with a diverse cultural influence and the best student life. I moved there when I was 18 and left at the age of 21, and I couldn’t have asked for a better environment to shape my personality and teach me life skills I am now very grateful for.”