Next month, 100 competitively selected students, entrepreneurs and young professionals from around the world will travel to the GapSummit 2019 to help shape the future of the biotechnology sector. Among the delegates will be Dr Mana Liao, Innovation Manager at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
An annual student-run, world-class biotechnology leadership summit, GapSummit is held at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge and aims to address pressing global needs and core ‘gaps’ facing the biotechnology sector by the year 2050.
“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to connect with current and future leaders from 45 countries, and to represent the Garvan Institute and Australia at this event. I look forward to the opportunity of discussing some of the key issues facing biotechnology with other experts in the field,” says Dr Liao.
Dr Liao first walked up Garvan’s famous spiral staircase ten years ago, when she began her scientific career as a research assistant in the Insulin Signalling lab, led by A/Prof Carsten Schmitz-Peiffer, where she went on to complete a PhD. At the same time, a passion for moving research discoveries from the lab bench to the bedside saw her delve into the world of intellectual property and pursue a Masters of Intellectual Property part-time.
After accumulating more than six years’ research experience, Dr Liao worked with intellectual property at Brandon Capital Partners and the consulting firm Bio-Link. She also held positions in technology transfer and business development at the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney.
Today, Dr Liao works in the Business Development and Innovation Team at the Garvan Institute, as a point of contact for researchers considering the commercialisation of their discoveries. “We’re here to create additional opportunities for Garvan’s research and to help manage the transition from basic science discoveries to be available for public use,” says Dr Liao. “This includes working with researchers to capture research opportunities that may be suitable for commercialisation, and to then create links with industry.”
Dr Liao is optimistic about a changing landscape of research commercialisation in Australia. “More and more, Australian industry sees the benefit in getting involved with medical research institutes early. We hope to work with them to fast track Garvan’s scientific discoveries to patients.”
In Cambridge, she hopes to meet with not only the other 100 GapSummit leaders but also to make connections in one of the world’s hotspots of biotechnology. “I’m looking forward to sharing Australia’s perspective, but also to bring an international perspective back home – to make sure we approach commercialisation at Garvan as effectively as possible.”