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Researcher Spotlight: Zoe Liu

2 October 2023

Meet Associate Research Fellow Zoe Lui who provides insight into her work in research.

Headshot of Zoe Lui. She wears a white t-shirt under a black jacket. She is looking forward and smiling. What does a typical workday look like for you? 

A typical workday for me starts with replying emails and checking the status of my cells in the incubator. I will always prioritise cell work and then squeeze out a bit more time to prepare experiments, grants, manuscripts, presentations, protocols or product quotes (yes time is never enough). There are also some meetings or paperwork scattered throughout the week as well.

What are you currently researching? 

I currently have two research focuses, one has a wider scope and the other is more niche:

I plan and provide advice for biomarkers related projects at IMPACT Institute. People are always keen to measure inflammatory markers, lipids, antibodies, oxidative stress markers, amino acids or metabolites in biological samples to add depth to their studies. I help them decide on what to measure and the most cost-effective products/platforms for their purpose.

In the Walder Lab, I spend most of my time growing stem cell-derived neurons and astrocytes to find biomarkers that can predict treatment response to bipolar disorder drug. This will help people with bipolar disorder who do not respond to first-line treatment find alternatives as soon as possible.

What has been a highlight of your career so far? 

The people I have met on this journey have always been the highlight of my research career. My PhD was on infectious disease and immunology, so switching to biological psychiatry has not been easy. However, so many brilliant and generous people who are so so happy to help definitely make me feel welcome and supported in this community.

What advice do you have for students interested in a career in research?

Research is for the curious – keep an open mind, ask lots of questions and experience the joy that new knowledge can bring you. You will see the world we live in (and yourself!) very differently through the lens of a researcher. More realistically, choose a lab that makes you feel inspired, comfortable and well supported (which is way more important than the research focus itself, I kid you not) so you can get the most out of this experience.