Finding cures for children's genetic diseases

Research

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Meet Samantha Ginn

Dr Samantha Ginn is a Senior Research Officer at the Gene Therapy Research Unit, and has worked in the institute for over 10 years. She is now sponsored by CMRI to participate in the inaugural Franklin Women’s program—a mentoring program for women in science.

 
Q: Why did you come to work at CMRI?
I have always loved molecular biology and my PhD investigated the important field of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. When I finished my PhD, I wanted to move into an area that was more directly translatable to human health.
 
Fortunately, I was lucky to be offered a post-doc position in the Gene Therapy Research Unit, originally employed by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and transferred to the Children’s Medical Research Institute a few years later.
 
The Gene Therapy Research Unit is a joint initiative between these two institutions and so it’s in a great position to be able take cutting edge treatments all the way from the lab bench to Australian children.
 
Q: What does a day in the life of your position look like?
Every day is different, so that keeps it interesting. Some days there can be lots of meetings either with members of the lab or for the Committees that I am involved with. Other times, there can be writing tasks to complete, such as preparing manuscripts, applications or presentations. Yet most days I will be at the bench doing lab work which is what I enjoy most, especially if experiments are producing exciting results.
 
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job, and what are the biggest challenges?
I guess what I enjoy most about my job is discovering something new and working in an area that after such a long time is showing some incredible results in the clinic. I think that there hasn’t been a more exciting time for gene therapy.
 
I think one of the biggest challenges is keeping the momentum up, especially when what you are working on really doesn’t have an end. It’s because one answer will always lead to another question. Additionally, trying to stay current and competitive in a field that is moving at a rapid pace is a challenge.
 
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am working on developing gene delivery systems that efficiently target the human liver. The most exciting part of my research is the possibility of taking new therapies from preclinical development to the clinic.
 
“There is the real possibility that a system that I am developing now could be used in a clinical trial in the future with improved outcomes for patients, so that really keeps me motivated."
 
Q: If you hadn’t taken up your role at CMRI, what would you like to be doing?
That’s a great question and one that I have been thinking about myself recently. It’s a question that has been prompted by my participation in the Franklin Women’s mentoring program.
 
If I wasn’t at CMRI, I’m not sure what I would be doing. I’ve always had a love of science so I think I would be doing something similar. I find having a job that plays a part in improving people’s lives really rewarding but I also like making lists and organising things so who knows, maybe a job planning stint.

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