Michael Low

Michael Low

PhD student Michael Low with test tube
PhD student Dr Michael Low

Why did you choose the institute for your PhD?

During my medical training I became aware of the institute and its reputation for leading the world in new biological discoveries. There are many inspiring laboratory heads at the institute, and I was convinced to study here after meeting my supervisors, Associate Professor David Tarlinton and Dr Stephen Nutt. They combine amazing scientific knowledge and experience with humble and approachable personalities.

What are the benefits of doing a PhD at the institute?

Combining my clinical experience with the scientific knowledge of the institute’s researchers is fantastic and has incredible potential. Additionally, the institute offers a great educational program and many open meetings that allow close collaboration between laboratories, facilitating cooperation between scientists with different specialties.

What is the subject of your PhD research?

I am looking into the pathways that control differentiation and survival in antibody producing plasma cells. In particular, I am looking at how these pathways are implicated in cancers of plasma cells (multiple myeloma).

What does a typical working day involve?

I have discovered there is no such thing as a typical day. Any day can include reviewing literature, planning, performing experiments or analyzing results. I also do a clinic a week at Monash Medical Centre. It is the variety and unpredictability that makes a PhD so much fun.

What did you do before starting your PhD?

I have a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Medical Science from The University of Melbourne. I am also completing my speciality training as a clinical and laboratory haematologist. I had no laboratory-based research experience before commencing my PhD, although as an undergraduate I had researched a rare genetic condition. As a clinician I have been fortunate to be involved in clinically based research projects on iron replacement therapies, leukaemia and myeloma.