Upulie Divisekera

Favourite Thing: Discovering something new is amazing. It makes you forget all the failed experiments and hypotheses you had. Or finding that your hypothesis was a pretty accurate guess



Ecole Internationale (1990-91), Macloed High (1991-1994)


University of Melbourne (BSc Hons, 2001) Australian National University, MPhil (2007)

Work History:

University of Melbourne (1995-97) Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (2002-2004),Bio21 Institute (2007),Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre


Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Current Job:

Research Assistant

Me and my work

I’m working on new treatments for breast and other cancers.

We hope that our work will produce another therapy (or two!) for breast cancers that could also be used to treat other cancers. We also hope that our work will mean patients won’t have to have chemotherapy, which makes patients very sick.

My Typical Day

Get to work, schedule my experiments, eat cake, conduct my experiments, plan for more experiments, eat cake, go out or go home!

I have to plan my day ahead of time so that I can be sure I have all the reagents and equipment. The work is a both intellectual *and* hands on, which I really like.I don’t have to sit at a desk all day. But there is always data analysis, reading and other things to make sure you still have desk time.

What I'd do with the money

I’ve changed my mind a bit after the competition.If I won, I would use half the prize money it to run some cool science demos in high schools.The other half I would donate to Dr Krystal for the schools science packs for students in Papua New Guinea. I think both are really important

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Passionate, creative, cheeky

Who is your favourite singer or band?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Kayaked in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, and watched Transformers 3 filming in Chicago. Both were amazing!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

1) Tattslotto.Well..doesn’t everyone want that? ;) 2) Work ends up in clinical trials 3) Lots more travel!

What did you want to be after you left school?

..A scientist..

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Not really..I was a *nerd* Except for that one time..

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

The work I’m doing now.It’s all new work,it’s on cancer and I really hope it will truly help people.i’ve also done some work on generating novel materials.I loved that because you got to think of a structure and attempt to design and create it.

Tell us a joke.

Did you hear about the guy that cooled himself to absolute zero? He’s 0K.