Welcome to our new EMCR Forum Executive members

EMCR Forum
Yee Lian Chew and Timothy Lau

Yee Lian Chew


Position: NHMRC Research Fellow, University of Wollongong

ECR or MCR? ECR… I think. Now five years post-PhD!

What was your PhD in? Molecular biology and genetics—I studied the role of a neuronal gene (Tau) that in humans is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. To assess the role of this gene in normal physiology, I used the nematode worm C. elegans as a model system (compact brain, accessible genetics), showing that the nematode version of Tau is involved in modulating lifespan and maintenance of a healthy nervous system. My supervisors were the wonderful Dr Hannah Nicholas (University of Sydney) and Professor Juergen Goetz (Queensland Brain Institute).

Where do you live and where are you from? I live in Sydney, NSW (yes, I commute to Wollongong for ~2 hours each way). I was born in Malaysia but moved to Australia for high school/uni. I lived in England for 3.5 years for a postdoc before returning to Australia.

Why did you want to join the EMCR Forum Executive? I would like to give a voice to EMCRs who experience discrimination due to systematic oppression of intersectional characteristics (disability, LGBTIQ+, cultural/linguistic diversity, ethnic background, first-gen academics). I strongly believe that more diverse research and academic backgrounds creates better science and more powerful outcomes.

Hobbies and fun facts about you? I love baking and crochet! I am also slightly obsessed with cute fluffy animals.

Timothy Lau


Position: Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Energy Technology, University of Adelaide

ECR or MCR? Mid-career researcher

What was your PhD in? In short, robotic fish with lasers! I studied the fluid mechanics of aquatic propulsion, or more specifically, the flow around fish-inspired hydrofoils, with the view to improve man-made underwater and sea-faring vehicles.

Where do you live and where are you from? I live in Adelaide. I was born and raised in a suburb just outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but I have spent most of my life in Australia.

Why did you want to join the EMCR Forum Executive? I joined the EMCR Forum Executive because I wanted to improve the current standing of scientists and engineers both within the community and amongst policymakers. Being at the forefront of addressing the major issues affecting society, both today and in the future, I think EMCRs have a significant role to play in keeping the public informed about these issues. I joined the Executive because I am also keen to see STEM subjects more effectively communicated to the younger generation, and EMCRs are the perfect ambassadors of these fields.

Hobbies and fun facts about you? I am a Ribena-berry kid alumnus, having appeared in a Ribena advert when I was five years old. As a reward, I received a year’s worth of Ribena cordial!

I was once South Australian champion (beginner’s foil) in fencing.

If that was not geeky enough, on the weekends I enjoy clicking on (and reading) random Wikipedia articles and seeing where I end up!

© 2021 Australian Academy of Science