Get to know your College alumni: Evita Chrisnayanti, Master of Biotechnology, PhD(Med)

Evita Chrisnayanti, PhD(Med) 2018 / Master of Biotech Studies 2007

Current position: Researcher in National Research and Innovation Agency (Indonesian: Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional, BRIN)

What led you to study Biotechnology at Flinders University? Flinders’ Biotechnology program is highly regarded. It offers a comprehensive range of subjects including foundation studies in biotechnology, bioprocessing and industrial biotechnology, innovation in biotechnology and biobusiness. These subjects are critical as they firstly develop your basic knowledge and principles of biotechnology, and then provide opportunities to practically apply the knowledge in real life.

I’ve got to say, the Biobusiness subject remains one of my favourites! It is very interesting because it taught me the skills I needed to make a business plan for biotechnology products.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Flinders? I have got so many great memories from my time at Flinders! My Masters degree was initially very challenging because I was learning in English, my second language, in Australia, which wasn’t my home country. However, there was a lot of support from staff and my fellow students and one of my favourite memories is when I really applied myself to a difficult assignment and got a good mark! It taught me that with tenacity and perseverance, anything is possible.

During my PhD, the time I spent studying in the library is one of my favourite memories. The design of the library is amazing, and I felt comfortable spending long hours in there doing my writing.

Also, Adelaide is a very student friendly city, especially if you bring your family. Whenever you get stressed because of studying, just visiting the city and surrounds helps you feel relief.

Briefly describe your career pathway and your current responsibilities: I graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia. For a time I worked in the biotechnology department of the government research institution called “Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology” (now fused with another national research institution, the “National Research and Innovation Agency”).

As a researcher it is very important for me to continue to develop my skills and knowledge, and the Master of Biotechnology curriculum at Flinders University was the perfect choice to really stretch my skills and competencies. After graduating, I returned to my career in Indonesia, and was soon appointed as head of the microbiology laboratory in the Biotechnology department. Then I came back to Flinders Uni to do a PhD degree in Biotechnology. Now I lead research on the isolation and purification of active compounds from microbes in the same research institution.

How did your Flinders degree prepare you for your current role? During my Masters degree, the subjects were very comprehensive. The lecturers are great: they build students’ analytical skills to solve and anticipate problems that arise in practice. They also teach valuable writing and oral communication skills that are necessary to convey findings and outcomes. Flinders also has good facilities such as laboratories and research equipment that built my skills to use tools in biotechnology.

The University’s Library staff are amazing and provided outstanding support, especially when I was doing research for my PhD degree.

Flinders also has many international students which I found very useful for developing a broad research network, which remains invaluable to my professional career.

Really, Flinders equipped me with the knowledge and skills to improve my performance in research, and to excel in my career!

What has been the greatest accomplishment of your career to date? I lead research on the isolation and purification of active compounds from microbes as a part of an international collaboration research project in my institution. It’s been such an exciting career so far, and I look forward to advancing the field of biotechnology in interesting and novel ways.

What advice do you have for a young person contemplating a career in biotechnology? Comprehensive knowledge about the field and staying on top of most recent research developments are essential components of a successful biotech career. However, you need additional skills to stand out in such a competitive professional arena. So, it is very important to have educational background that fulfill these components. The postgraduate Biotechnology programs at Flinders were absolutely essential to building my skills, knowledge and capabilities for a successful and fulfilling career!

Evita’s Masters and PhD programs were sponsored by the Australia Awards; these are prestigious international scholarships and short courses offering the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia.

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