Dr Sonia Shah
Dr Sonia ShahNHMRC Early Career Fellow
University of Queensland
In order to fix something, we need to understand how it works. As a human genetics researcher, Sonia uses her knowledge and skills in biology, statistics and computing, to analyse genetic data on hundreds of thousands of individuals to better understand how the human body works and what goes wrong in disease, so we can come up with new ways to prevent and treat heart disease.
Heart disease is still one of the leading causes of death in Australia. Our genes are not necessarily our destiny, and we now live in a world where it is possible to analyse someone’s DNA collected from a bit of spit early in life, and determine if they are more likely to develop heart disease later in life, giving us more time to make the right changes e.g. in our lifestyle, that will help prevent disease in the future. One of Sonia's future goals is to pilot the use of genetic information within the healthcare system and understand what the impact (positive and negative) would be.
Sonia's curiosity about how the human body worked led her to pursue a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry, a Masters in Bioinformatics and a PhD in heart disease genetics, and she is now a researcher at the University of Queensland. Her significant contributions to science have been acknowledged by awards such as the 2020 Genetic Society of Australasia Early Career Researcher award for outstanding contribution to genetic research and the 2020 Women in Technology (WiT) Rising Star Science award recognising outstanding contribution of Queensland women in STEM. She has attracted >1.5 million AUD in competitive funding, including a recent NHMRC IDEAS grant as lead investigator.
If you would like to find out more about what Sonia does, or have an opportunity to work together, please get in touch.