University of Melbourne : Careers Guide 2012
» Ritu Chaurasia » Bachelor of Biomedicine Ritu’s love of science and human biology was were the major factors that led her to study at the University of Melbourne. “ I knew I loved science, in particular human biology, but I didn’t know exactly which stream I wanted to venture into. The Bachelor of Biomedicine allowed me to get straight into tertiary studies and work towards a degree while still keeping my options open,” she says. Another drawcard was the fact that the University has strong connections with some of the leading health institutes and hospitals in Victoria. Ritu intends to stay at Melbourne when she completes her course in order to embark on the Master of Public Health. She hopes that completing a pathway from Biomedicine to a graduate degree will one day lead to her dream of working for a leading non-government body or the World Health Organisation, for example. “My course has opened my eyes to so many fantastic things that biomedicine can do for the world and for people less fortunate than us and I really want to use the knowledge I’ve learned in this degree to help lift global health and eradicate diseases in areas that need it most,” she says. Prof. Chubb points out that the action of the majority of antidepressants is based on a scientific principle dating back to 1961. This is despite the fact that Australia alone has spent $140 million on research into depression in the last 10 years. “In obesity, the story is similar – two-thirds of Australians are overweight or obese,” Prof. Chubb says. “In the last 20 years, there has been an explosion in the science underlying the genetics, basic biology and neuroscience regulating food intake and satiety. In the last 10 years, we have spent almost $200 million on research. And yet such knowledge has not been translated to any new drugs that decrease weight safely and effectively.” Prof. Chubb notes that the lack of new treatments is not restricted to obesity or depression – he says the story is the same across most human diseases. “It hasn’t always been this way. In the 1960s, there were fairly strong links between basic and clinical research. Medical research was largely done by physician-scientists who also treated patients. But as molecular biology exploded, clinical and basic research started to separate. “Nowadays, the majority of biomedical research is done by highly specialised PhD scientists who have never seen a patient before,” he says. Translational research is thought to be the answer. “It has a key part to play in improving our lives and also in justifying taxpayer dollars, because the underlying question is always, ‘Is the country gaining the greatest possible practical benefit from its research investment?’” HEALTH & WELLBEING » Fact 6.3 years The minimum time for evidence to reach reviews, papers and textbooks. 9.3 years The average additional time it then takes for evidence from reviews, papers and textbooks to be implemented into clinical practice.