Dr Renee Chow: From Falling in Love with Research in Musical Acoustics to ARMI
Dr Renee Chow is one of ARMI’s newest research group leaders, joining the Heart and Muscle Development and Regeneration theme. Her group will study heart valve development, disease, and regeneration using zebrafish as a model organism.
Renee’s biomedical research career has had a relatively unusual start. She first found love for research during her undergraduate summer internship in the Musical Acoustics Lab of Professor Joe Wolfe whilst undertaking her undergraduate degree majoring in Medical Physics at The University of New South Wales (UNSW). Renee worked on a project which aimed to understand how flautists pushed different flute keys at the millisecond level during note transitions to achieve the desired sound. While it was love at first research project, the questions that intrigued Renee the most were in the biomedical science field.
This led to Renee completing her Honours year at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital under the supervision of Dr Nigel Freeman and Professor Joe Wolfe, studying implant geometry in patients undergoing high-dose rate brachytherapy. Renee then worked as a research assistant in the Angiogenesis and Translational Research Lab led by Dr Martin Ng at the Heart Research Institute in Sydney. “Martin was a great mentor and encouraged me to gain international experience.”
After that, Renee’s career took off. She completed her PhD in the lab of Professor Bill Harris at the University of Cambridge, UK, whereby she applied her background in physics to study zebrafish retinal development. Subsequently, Renee completed her post-doctoral studies at the IGBMC in France under the mentorship of Dr Julien Vermot, focusing on the role of haemodynamic forces caused by blood flow on zebrafish heart valve development.
Renee has now commenced her journey as a new Group Leader at ARMI. She has started to meet the people at the Institute and at Monash Microimaging “who have been wonderfully supportive.” Since ARMI is a two-minute walk from the Engineering Department, Renee is thrilled about the potential to collaborate with leading researchers in Engineering and Material Sciences. “I am also looking forward to working with clinicians at the Victorian Heart Hospital to study heart valve disease and regeneration.”
Along with her love for research and the biomedical sciences, Renee enjoys a range of artistic hobbies, including life drawing, silk painting, polymer clay work, glass bead making, and kiln-fused glass work. Welcome, Renee!