Francesca Orsini is a Biostatistician and Senior Research Officer at Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

The Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit (CEBU) at MCRI specialises in biostatistics, epidemiological methods and data management. Equipped with these specialties, CEBU provides important support and expertise to all levels of researchers on the Melbourne Children's Campus.

Tell us about your background and how you came to be part of the CEBU team? I'm originally from Como in Italy. I studied statistics in Milan and graduated with a Masters in Biostatistics. For a couple of years after, I worked as a biostatistician at a contract research organisation and was responsible for statistical planning. In 2011 my partner and I decided it was time for a change. We moved to Melbourne on a working holiday visa with the grand plan to travel Australia. At the time, I had briefly been in touch with John Carlin who was very interested in my background working as a biostatistician around clinical trials. The plan was to work the six months that my visa allowed me to and then travel. But it seems things went well for both me and CEBU as the six months got extended. I got sponsored on a working visa and here I am eight and a bit years later still working at CEBU! I am mainly involved in clinical trials and I collaborate with many different research teams both within MCRI and RCH. In addition to the clinical research, since 2013 I have been responsible for organising the Introduction to Biostatistics short course and I also regularly teach the software Stata to researchers on campus.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities you've encountered working within the CEBU space? Working within CEBU, I get to learn about many research topics and collaborate with many great researchers. I value the constant opportunities for learning and upskilling through my various projects, but also the fact that I got to challenge myself and started to teach courses in English which is not my mother tongue! The challenging counterpart to working on lots of different project is that you have to juggle all these different projects and various deadlines at the same time. I had to develop strong organisational skills to handle all these projects in parallel and keep everyone happy, knowing that I take the same care in analysing all the data.

What excites you about the work being done by the CEBU team? I love that we get to make numbers talk and that we help researchers to make sense of complicated datasets. We are also sitting front row to analyse findings – we are the first to discover some studies' results!