Dr Chris Vaughan

Q&A with Dr Chris Vaughan an alumnus of UNSW’s Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering and head of UNSW’s Cellular Physiology of Pain Research Laboratory.

What was it that appealed to you about Biomedical Engineering?

It combines two things that I very much enjoy into one!

Could you please tell us about your research project?

The research project that I worked on for my Masters of Biomedical Engineering looked at motor control deficits in orofacial muscles in individuals with cerebral palsy.

What do you love the most about your job now?

One of the things that I love about my job is seeing the way that the medical research field is changing throughout the years. It’s such an innovative field. It is also extremely rewarding to see my PhD students discover new things in their own research.

What are some of your fun memories from your time here at the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering?

It feels like I graduated such a long time ago! My time at the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering was made really special due to the great campus atmosphere and social activities that I was a part of.

I also particularly enjoyed the courses that I was studying, especially the research part of my Master’s degree. Throughout my time here I was surrounded by a great a group of people and a really interesting research project.

How useful was your degree to your current work?

The field that I am currently working in is pure biomed-neuroscience/pharmacology. I use the knowledge that I learnt there on a regular basis. I’m leading a research group that studies the cellular mechanisms of pain and its pharmacology. Engineering has given me a new and unique view to my current research.

What biomed-type contributions to the world are you most proud of?

The growth of any field is very much dependant on a whole bunch of contributions combined. There are a lot of former engineers that are now doing neuroscience; they bring a fresh new perspective to the area which has resulted in some great contributions. I think engineers make the best neuroscientists!

What advice do you have for graduates in finding their first job?

A good piece of advice I like to give graduates is to look at the bigger picture and have a go at something different. Just looking at my personal experience, I took a six month break after finishing my Masters in Biomedical Engineering to think about what I wanted to do next. I was originally planning on going for a job in medical imaging, but a chance meeting with a medical researcher got me into doing a PhD in neuroscience. I haven't looked back since!