Stem Cell Biology with Rebecca Lim (#1)

We talk about weightlifting, work/life balance, Rebecca's love of dogs, and her journey to a career in regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies.

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Rebecca Lim is a scientist working on the clinical translation of cells from the human amniotic sac. She is a stem cell biologist by training and has been working on stem cells since 2003. Rebecca began her scientific training in Singapore where she studied biotechnology at a local polytechnic. And through a rather arduous route, found herself working as a researcher at Monash University in Melbourne and more recently, running her own research group at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. Rebecca does a little bit of undergraduate teaching, but the bulk of her time is spent supporting her research team as they work collectively to push the boundaries of science and technology to answer questions that will allow them to make regenerative medicine accessible to those who need it.

Rebecca is scientific director for the cell therapies platform at the Monash Health Translation Precinct, and leads the amnion cell biology lab at The Ritchie Centre. She is Associate Professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University, and a career development fellow with the National Health & Medical Research Council.

In our conversation, we talk about weightlifting, work/life balance, Rebecca’s love of dogs, and her journey to a career in regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies.

Content Warning: References to animal-based research at [35:10], non-graphic and safe for public consumption, but skip to [36:09] if needed.

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Show Notes

[04:15] Rebecca’s journey to weightlifting
[05:51] Olympic lifting as an inclusive community
[09:50] How weightlifting has improved Rebecca’s work/life balance and made her a better teacher
[12:45] Rebecca’s journey to stem cell research
[15:42] Stem cell classification criteria
[17:48] Applications of liver stem cells
[18:58] 3D printing of organs
[20:50] How investigations into stem cells lead to regenerative medicine
[25:45] The beginnings of investigating how to more accurately determine who has good stem cells
[27:54] Grading stem cells for quality control
[29:23] The question of what makes stem cells more or less potent
[30:31] What grant writing involves
[32:20] Collaboration for obtaining research data
[33:22] A day in the lab
[35:10] The animal house (discusses animal-based research, no graphic detail)
[36:09] The diseases of focus in Rebecca’s research
[40:04] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[41:20] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[42:41] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?

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