Upon completion of her undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Tehran, Iran, Ms Elham Nili decided to give her life a big change by pursuing her postgraduate study in her lifelong passion: cellular biology.
Elham dedicated years to obtaining a strong background in science and learning biological skills through attending biology training courses in Australia and overseas, volunteering in research labs, joining research projects, contributing to research publications, and completing a Certificate IV in laboratory techniques,. Eventually, Elham started her Masters of Biotechnology at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2013 and completed the degree in 2014. Towards completion of her Masters program, Elham luckily found the opportunity to join the “Visiting Scholars Research Programs” at the Queensland Eye Institute (QEI), and subsequently started her PhD at QEI in January 2015, under supervision of Associate Professor Damien Harkin, Dr Neil Richardson, and Ms Rebecca Dawson. She was also awarded the competitive Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship from QUT.
Elham is now enjoying her PhD journey at the Queensland Eye Institute conducting research on optimising the corneal mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) culture on silk fibroin to create a double layer Epithelial-Mesenchymal stem cell construct. She hopes that this method will increase the chance of successful epithelial transplantation for the patients with limbal stem cell deficiency.