Pooria Lesani

My adventure at the University of Sydney as a PhD student was a wild ride, full of twists and turns that kept me on my toes. Back in 2017, I made the daring move of leaving behind my family and friends to chase my academic dreams Down Under. Let me tell you, it wasn’t all sunshine and kangaroos at first. 

I found myself in a whole new realm, struggling to fit in with a bunch of people who didn’t exactly light my fire or share my goals. But did I let that bring me down? Nah! I’m not one to give up easily. I stayed optimistic and kept dreaming big, because that’s just how I roll. 

Eventually, the tides started to turn. I stumbled upon this amazing research group, Prof Zreiqat and Prof. New, that had my back like no other. They believed in me and my crazy ideas, like developing a cancer detection system using rotten oranges. Yup, you might’ve even caught me holding one of those oranges on the USYD web NEWS. Talk about making headlines! 

I published my groundbreaking work in some top-notch journals, building up a killer reputation along the way. But it didn’t stop there. I dove headfirst into outreach activities, teaching gigs, and all sorts of shenanigans. And guess what? The dean of the Faculty of Engineering recognized my mad tutoring skills and hooked me up with the Best Tutor award. Talk about a confidence boost! 

Before I knew it, I was on the cusp of submitting my thesis when a mind-blowing opportunity knocked on my door. My PhD supervisor from the School of Biomedical Engineering offered me a sweet postdoc gig. How could I say no? It was the perfect way to kick-start my academic career.

In 2022, shortly after my graduation, I was privileged to receive the prestigious Fulbright scholarship, which granted me the opportunity to travel to the United States and collaborate with top researchers in cancer research at MIT (Im going there soon). Can you believe it? Dreams really do come true! 

I gotta give a shoutout to the University of Sydney and its amazing crew. They’ve been my ride-or-die, helping me make my dreams a reality. And even though I’m not currently repping the USYD squad (writing this with a mix of sadness and gratitude), as I start my new position as Vice Chancellor Researcher at RMIT, I know deep down I’ll be back at my academic home sooner than anyone expects. 

To all you fantastic individuals out there chasing your dreams at the University of Sydney, keep pushing boundaries and never lose that spark. The support and resources at this place are off the charts. So go ahead, make some noise, and keep dreaming big. 

With mad love and excitement for what’s to come,
Pooria Lesani.

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