Daniel Tran

What is your current position, and what do you do?
Currently, I am a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Richard Payne at the University of Sydney. My project surrounds the design and synthesis of novel anti-tuberculosis drugs.

What has been your biggest challenge, career-wise?
From my experiences in both undergraduate and postgraduate research, the biggest challenge has been transitioning from the structured undergraduate lab classes to independent hands-on research, and getting used to the independence and work demand. Without the hands-on experience I received from the undergraduate summer research program that UNSW offers, I think I would have had a lot of difficulty coping with Honours and PhD.

What achievement are you most proud of?
Achieving First Class Honours.

What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful scientist?
Being able to keep a balance between work and leisure. As demanding as doing research is, it is still very important to have your own external life to balance out the stress. Good time management skills. Being able to accept that chemistry/science experiments don’t always work. A lot of the time, things in the lab do not go according to plan. Being versatile and being able to deal with each situation is important for a scientist. Being passionate about what you do, this applies to any field you work in. The effort that you put into your job is based on how much you enjoy what you do.

What are your interests outside of work?
Rock climbing, cooking, and reading.

What helps you achieve a work-life balance?
Managing my time properly to make sure that I get enough work done throughout the weekday so I can relax during the weekends. Join the gym on a membership also ensures that I go to the gym, since I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting money.

What advice would you give to students starting their science careers?
If possible, find an area of science that you are passionate about and you can see yourself doing for many years. I know this isn’t easy to do, due to the competitive nature of science careers, and in that case, try to find a job in the science field and do your best to build up your network. Most science jobs require some form of collaboration and so make sure you utilise those collaborations as chances to meet people in different areas and different companies.

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