ARMI Alumni in Australia: Dr Hozana Castillo
It’s been a “round the world” trip for ARMI alumni Dr Hozana Castillo, who first arrived in Australia in 2016 as part of her postdoctoral studies with the Kaslin Group at ARMI. After returning to her native Brazil in 2018, Hozana is once again back in Melbourne and now working in industry to support drug discovery and development.
Hozana remembers her time at ARMI fondly. “Being at ARMI was a wonderful experience for me. It was the first time that I had experienced doing research outside Brazil. The infrastructure at ARMI and Monash was amazing. I felt respected as a professional, and I made a lot of friends.” With group leader Associate Professor Jan Kaslin, Hozana researched the cellular and molecular mechanisms of stem-cell driven spinal cord regeneration in zebrafish.
“Being at ARMI was a wonderful experience for me…”
When her time at ARMI came to an end in 2018, Hozana returned to Brazil and continued her work at the Brazilian Bioscience National Laboratory, investigating the role of specific signalling pathways in zebrafish spinal cord regeneration. Not only that, but Hozana also began collaborating with peers from other laboratories to develop a cell labelling protocol for
Synchrotron X-Ray Fluorescence Microscopy. “It was a very interesting project as I led cross-functional groups that included professionals in different fields, such as physicists, chemists and biologists. We made good progress, so hopefully, it’ll be published soon,” added Hozana.
But Australia was calling Hozana back. “At the end of 2020, I quit my job back in Brazil and decided to move to Australia.” With the Global Talent Visa Program, a new program to introduce innovative skills to high priority industries such as biotech, Hozana was granted Permanent Residency. “Being at ARMI, gaining the skills I did during this time, having the opportunity to form connections with Australia’s biomedical research ecosystem, and having the support of the ARMI leadership was instrumental in this application,” commented Hozana.
Not only did Hozana move across the world again, but she also decided on a career change, switching academia for the dynamism of industry. Today, she works as a Solutions Consultant at Clarivate Analytics. This company offers data, insights and analytics tools to support life science innovation and drug development, from early-stage research all the way through to commercialisation.
She explained, “I talk to scientists from research institutes and from pharma companies to understand their projects and how they can use Clarivate tools to accelerate their project. So it’s nice that I still have contact with science. Also, all my career, I have been focused on basic science research, but now, I’m learning so much about regulation, clinical trials, market assessment and other topics that will improve my knowledge as a professional in science.”
Hozana counts her training as a scientist as critical to her role. “I need to know science, know how researchers work to develop their project. It helps me better understand their projects, their needs and their questions,” she said. With her experience in academia, she has insight into drug targets and mechanisms of action. Her time at ARMI also helped Hozana develop her critical way of thinking about science and how to talk to fellow scientists about the intricacies and complexities of research projects. “With its specific focus, ARMI was a rich environment for discussing regenerative medicine,” Hozana mentioned.
“With its specific focus, ARMI was a rich environment for discussing regenerative medicine.”
No day is the same for Hozana. Supporting research teams across Australia, New Zealand, the US, China and India, including teams at Monash University, she talks to scientists about their project needs in the form of workshops, webinars and training sessions. “I’m enjoying it a lot so far,” commented Hozana. “I’m still working within science, and I am still reading papers, but just with a different approach.”