News / 29 January 2019

EMBL Australia PhD course participant, Hana Starobova, was selected into the global leadership program, Homeward Bound, where she travels to Antarctica at the end of the year.

EMBL Australia creates opportunities to internationalise Australian research, empowering and training the best early-career researchers, and is a proud sponsor of Hana’s participation at Homeward Bound.

Homeward Bound equips exceptional women, with leadership and strategic skills, to impact future policy and decision-making.  Hana was one of 92 women selected from around the world to take part in the prestigious program, with the opportunity for her to develop her skills and confidence to become a future scientific leader.  Currently, Hana is developing new painkillers using natural resources such as animal venoms and plant extracts as part of her PhD course at the University of Queensland.

Participants need to actively fundraise $30,000 to travel to Antarctica, and Hana has now raised more than half of the amount.  The three week trip to Antarctica is the intensive part of the course.  It builds strong relationships and networks between the participating women, focusses on the development of leadership skills, and is spent making plans for the future.

“I am the first woman in my family who studied and I was only able to finance my education with scholarships.  I know how difficult it is to overcome prejudice, inequity and financial difficulties to fulfil a dream,” said Hana.

EMBL Australia gives the nation’s best PhD students the opportunity to develop international networks and alliances in Europe and around the world via EMBL’s workshops, conferences and various other programs.  Last year, Hana participated in EMBL Australia’s two-week PhD course in Sydney, a training program for PhD students, giving them a head start in their science careers.  Sixty outstanding first and second year PhD students attended the program, which is modelled on the compulsory pre-doc training program of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).  Between networking and scientific presentations, students participate in oral and poster presentations, and Hana won first prize for her poster.

“I really enjoyed the course, it was amazing.  The talks were great, as was networking with other students.  I’m still in touch with many of them.  I’d highly recommend the course,” she said.

Can you help Hana reach her fundraising goal so that she can travel Antarctica?

For more information about Homeward Bound, visit Hana’s fundraising page here or email her on

Keep an eye on the EMBL Australia website for details about the 2019 PhD course which will be held in Tasmania from 24 June to 5 July.



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