The Sydney Vital Flagship Fellow scheme gives emerging researchers the opportunity to develop their own research program over a period of twelve months, with mentorship from leaders in translational cancer research and access to Sydney Vital’s research infrastructure. We wanted to check in with some of our former fellows and see where they have taken their research careers since the fellowship.
Physicist Dr Yaser Hadi Gholami’s passion for making a difference is palpable when he talks about his work: “It’s not just science for science’s sake, it’s science for humanity. That’s what I really love about it. We’re not just physicists, we’re not just nerds, we actually do something that will hopefully serve the community and humanity at large,” he says.
Yaser was the Sydney Vital Nano-oncology Flagship Fellow from 2019 to 2020. He now works as a radiation physicist and physics lecturer at the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, where he is also a postdoctoral research fellow at the Faculty of Medicine and Health working with Sydney Vital Director Professor Dale Bailey.
When asked about his biggest success since his Sydney Vital fellowship, there is no doubt in his mind: “Winning the Physics Grand Challenges with my postronium project.” The grant awards funding of up to $250,000 over two years to interdisciplinary, groundbreaking projects, such as Yaser’s project to develop a new tool with quantum sensitivity for early cancer detection and diagnosis.
“Sydney Vital has been a platform for me from which I have been able to go out and work towards my goals and achieve a lot,” he says.
“I also received a travel grant from Sydney Vital, which allowed me to go to Harvard. That visit kicked off a whole range of achievements and work, including three publications, and it’s where I came up with the idea for the positronium project.
“Additionally, on the level of my work philosophy, Sydney Vital has changed my outlook and inspired me to be more creative in applying my theoretical physics knowledge to translational research, and to helping patients with cancer.”
Read Sydney Vital’s interview with Yaser after winning the Physics Grand Challenges grant here.