Romana Stark ANZOS Annual Scientific Meeting 2021

Romana Stark

I am an Early Career Researcher at Monash University within the Biomedical Discovery Institute (BDI). My general research interests center on understanding how the brain and peripheral tissues work together in order to maintain glucose. Since 2012, I have worked in the neuroscience lab of world-leading expert in neuronal control of food intake, Prof Zane Andrews, where I investigate neural mechanisms regulating food intake, blood glucose and body weight. I had training from world recognised experts in metabolism, neuroanatomy and feeding-behaviours. My previous and current appointments – Prof Michael Roden (PhD supervisor, Institute for Clinical Diabetology, Duesseldorf), Prof Gerald Shulman and Prof Richard Kibbey (Yale University), Prof Matthew Watt (now University of Melbourne), Prof Zane Andrews (Monash University), including the lab visit of Prof Serge Luquet (University of Paris Diderot) – have equipped me with an excellent skillset, a network of collaborators and knowledge in metabolic phenotyping, glucose metabolism and behavioural neuroscience. Currently, I try to gain more independence from the Andrews’ lab and Monash University is very supportive. I benefited from various gender equity and ECR grants and fellowship schemes run within Monash. I was the recipient of the FMNHS Bridging Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2014, a scheme that support the salary of outstanding ECRs. In 2016 I received an Advancing Women’s Research Success grant, which included direct research costs worth $11,000 and five one-on-one career coaching sessions. Further, I received a Monash-Yale Collaborative Grant in 2017 ($ 44,939) that strengthened the collaboration with Prof Kibbey (Yale University, USA), and supported a project, independent from Prof Zane Andrews, that characterize the impact of mitochondrial PEPCK deletion on glucose homeostasis. Within Monash, I trained, mentored (7) and co-supervised students (5), and I arranged the BDI metabolism journal club for students for 2 consecutive years. I was an active member of the FMNHS ECR steering committee in the last years, and I organized the last 3 ECR symposiums for the faculty of medicine (chair and deputy-chair of the organising committee). I also helped to established the ECR steering committee for the school (BDI) 3 years ago, and I was the past year’s chair of the ECR steering committee within the BDI. I also have been on grant review panels (Austrian academy of science, NHMRC, graduate women victoria) and reviewed manuscripts for journals, such as Nature, Current Molecular Medicine, Endocrinology, Frontiers in Neuroendocrine Science, etc. In 2019 I had one NHRMC project grant funded and was promoted to a group leader role. This has allowed me to have a research only position (0.8 FTE) and I am about to develop my own niche within the Andrews’ lab. My NHMRC funded project employs 2 honour students and one Master to investigate how the brain senses low blood sugar levels and initiate regulatory responses to prevent hypoglycaemia in order to find new avenues for diabetes treatment. I have 10 first-author publications and a total of 33 publications (including 4 review articles and 3 book chapters).

Abstracts this author is presenting: