Ronald Quinn

What is your current position, and what do you do?
Professor Ronald J Quinn AM, FTSE
Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering
Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University

Describe your study/employment pathway.
I did a BSc and PhD in Organic Chemistry at UNSW.  This training was of the very highest standard. My first post-doc in the US at Arizona State University introduced me to the fact that chemistry could be applied to treat disease. I worked towards a total synthesis of camptothecin. During this period camptothecin failed a clinical trial resulting in the project being closed. It is interesting that 2 camptothecin analogues have now become anti-cancer drugs. I spent 7 years working in the Pharmaceutical industry before taking an academic position.

What achievement are you most proud of?
Two things: training the next generation of scientists and witnessing their career progression; and contributing some thoughts and results to provide new approaches to natural product chemistry.
What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful scientist?
Perseverance and working on projects that you believe are important.

What are your interests outside of work?
I like photography, and it has been a long-term hobby. While I played cricket for UNSW and on return from the US in Canberra and Sydney, eventually some wear to my knees (probably as a result of being a wicket keeper involving crouching and standing for each delivery) I took up cycling to avoid surgery (successfully) and developed a strong liking for cycling.  I completed the bike leg in 12 Noosa Triathlons (team event). This year I walked the Camino Portugues (250 kilometres carrying a pack)

What helps you achieve a work-life balance?
Family, including 7 grandchildren, contributes to keeping a work-life balance.

What advice would you give to students starting their science careers?
Understand your skill base, think about what you like doing. It is hard to predict the best choice during a career, go with what excites you rather than too much analysis of career options.

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