Edith Chow

What is your current position, and what do you do?
I am a Senior Research Scientist in the Nanosensors and Systems Team at CSIRO. My research revolves around gold nanoparticle-based chemical sensing technologies, both from a fundamental and applied perspective. My vision is to make these sensors accessible (portable, affordable and simple-to-use) to all those who require it, whether it is for water pollution monitoring, or point-of-care disease diagnostics. This will enable improvements in the quality of our lives by having a more rapid, efficient means to assess the quality of our water, or the health of an individual.

Describe your study/employment pathway so far
I completed my BSc(Hons) in Chemistry (2002) and PhD in Chemistry (2006) at UNSW with Scientia Prof. Justin Gooding and Prof. Brynn Hibbert where I developed expertise in electroanalytical chemistry and chemical sensing technologies. I joined CSIRO as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2006 where I brought my expertise to co-invent one of CSIRO’s platform technologies, chemiresistors for liquid-phase operation. I was promoted to Research Scientist in 2008 and to Senior Research Scientist in 2010.

What has been your biggest challenge, career-wise?
Attracting funding to continue to support the ongoing research, and to grow the team has always been challenging. In addition, balancing between keeping up-to-date with the latest advances in the field, writing publications and grants while doing benchtop research can be challenging too. However, in order to grow to be a successful researcher, one has to deal with such challenges and learn to be resilient to setbacks, such as unsuccessful grant applications, and to better prioritise tasks and set goals.

What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful scientist?
A successful scientist is one with a curious mind. Be open to as many ideas as possible and don’t be afraid of failure. Show your passion and inspire others to follow you.

What are your interests outside of work?
I have a bit of a creative flair, and love design and photography. Some of these interests blend into my work; one year I made Christmas cards out of gold nanoparticle films and I have designed two front covers for journals.

Is there anything you would like to share?
Females are underrepresented in science so I would like to encourage more female participation at an early age. Females add diversity to ideas, and tackle problems in different ways. If you have a passion for science, and a sense of curiosity, then go forth and consider a career in science!

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