Rubbing shoulders with Nobel Prize winners

It’s not every day that one gets to meet with twenty Nobel Prize laureates at one time, unless of course one is attending the Nobel awards in Sweden.

For Mr Muhammad Shamoon, ANU Medical School PhD scholar, his opportunity will come in January 2022 when he attends the Global Young Scientists Summit to be hosted in Singapore.

Unfortunately, due to COVID, Mr Shamoon will be rubbing shoulders virtually. Nevertheless, he will still make the most of every opportunity presented at the summit.

“Discussing my findings with fellow early-career researchers and the leading experts in physiology and medicine at this stage of my research, where I have collected exciting preliminary data, will make this a formative experience.”

“I feel very privileged to be chosen to engage with laureates such as Professor Michael Young (2017 Physiology and Medicine Nobel prize winner), Professor Thomas Sudhof (2013) and Professor Barry Marshall (2005).”

“The hybrid system of learning through lectures and small group discussions with relevant laureates is a very appealing part of this summit,” Mr Shammon explained.

Mr Shamoon undertook a competitive application and selection process to be chosen to attend, along with approximately 20 other ANU early career researchers.

Interestingly, this will not be the first time that Mr Shamoon will be seeing Nobel laureates. In November of this year he was chosen to attend the 4th World Laureates Forum, initiated by the World Laureates Association, held in China. Again, due to COVID, he had to attend virtually. In attendance were more than 160 laureates. The global health science forum covered topics related to physiology and medicine, international cooperation and frontier research.

“A big attraction of the World Laureates Forum is being able to network face-to-face, so the organisers have offered to allow this year’s attendees to attend in person next year. I hope this comes to fruition,” he smiled.

“I’m aware of the importance of networking with peers and experts in my field and feel fortunate to have so many excellent opportunities to learn and connect. My supervisor, Professor Chris Nolan, has been instrumental in encouraging my participation in these events and I am very grateful for his support.”

Mr Shamoon has also secured himself a seat at the 7th Annual European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Australia PhD Course to be held in Melbourne in March 2022. He is hopeful he’ll be able to attend in person.

The course is open to only 60 first and second year PhD student from around Australia. Like the other events, attendance is by application and is fully funded.

“For the work I’m doing on type 2 diabetes, there are a number of lectures run that will be extremely important for my learning such as microscopy and molecular techniques, drug discovery and translation.”

“The EMBL course will also provide advice about how to successfully publish and promote my work beyond academia, with industry for example. There will be discussions about science integrity – a topic that has had a lot of publicity, particularly around the topic of reproducibility of data. I’m keen to hear the views of the presenters around these topics.”

“So far, my experience as a scholar at ANU has been outstanding, I’m grateful for the diverse opportunities and supportive environment it provides and am looking forward to what 2022 has to offer.”