Meet Simran Kaur, an early career researcher in the Brain and Mitochondrial group of the Genetics theme. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to getting to where you are today as a researcher here at MCRI.

I am doing my PhD studies with Prof John Christodoulou, Dr Nicole Van Bergen and Dr Wendy Gold in the Brain and Mitochondrial Research Group at MCRI. After completing my Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology in 2007, I studied at the University of Sydney and completed my Masters of Molecular Biotechnology. As a part of a minor project I was welcomed by Prof John Christodoulou in his Metabolic research lab at the Kid's Research Institute at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney. I then decided to do a Masters degree in Medicine at the University of Sydney.

I was then welcomed as a full time research assistant by Prof Kathryn North in her lab, which was also at Westmead Children's Hospital in the Institute of Neuroscience and Muscle Research (INMR). 

Prof North and the late A/Prof Nigel Clarke provided a very supportive environment in which I matured as a confident researcher. I relocated to the Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland as a research assistant and lab manager for a year before finding my way back to work on a PhD with Prof Christodoulou at MCRI in 2016. 

Describe the research that you're currently working on at MCRI.

My research work combines genomics and functional genomics techniques together to find new disease genes in mutationnegative Rett syndrome patients. 

What motivates you about the work you do and working at MCRI?

Kids and families finding their way through rare disease journey is my biggest motivation. Also, inspiration from my parents always hold me high during ups and downs in life. Without their contribution, I wouldn't be able to achieve what I have today. MCRI is the perfect workplace to learn and grow further. We have excellent resources, collaboration opportunities and financial support for students. 

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?

Making even a slight contribution towards the big dream of finding a cure for rare diseases. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of MCRI. How do you enjoy your down time and what hobbies or interests do you take part in?

I am the proud mum of a three year-old boy, Ekam, who keeps me on my toes all the time. So, most of my downtime at the moment is spent playing with him (when I am not in the lab). I get to get me time while driving where I love to hear spiritual and motivational talks.