Venom expert is STEM superstar

11 December 2018

An IMB structural biologist and toxinologist studying molecules found in venom has been named a STEM superstar for inspiring women to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Dr Yanni Chin has been offered one of 60 coveted positions in the nationwide Science and Technology Australia (STA) Superstars of STEM program, which aims to change gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM.

Dr Chin is part of a team investigating the venoms of spiders and scorpions, as well as insects and marine animals.

“I specialise in the study of 3-dimensional molecular structures of venom-peptides from these venomous animals,” she said.

“Our team has discovered new molecules within venom that could become drug leads to treat nervous system disorders like pain, epilepsy and stroke.”

Dr Teresa Ubide from the Faculty of Science has also been named an STA Superstar of STEM. Her research focuses on how volcanoes work and what triggers them to erupt.

“My team investigates processes that take place deep inside volcanoes, by studying crystals that are transported to the surface during eruptions. By understanding what led to eruptions in the past, we can better predict when they may erupt in the future, and help inform volcano monitoring efforts.”

The two-year program will provide professional development, followed by media and speaking opportunities.