Dr Yee Lian Chew

NHMRC and Flinders Foundation Mary Overton Fellow

Flinders University

Dr Yee Lian Chew, ‘the worm lady’, uses the roundworm C. elegans to study chronic pain. In chronic pain, repeated stimulation of pain neurons leads to sensitised responsiveness, even to harmless cues. The biology of this process is poorly understood. An NHMRC and Flinders Foundation Mary Overton fellow at Flinders University, Yee Lian uses this worm –one millimetre long with only 300 neurons, yet 80% genetically identical to humans – to identify neurochemicals to be used as drug targets for chronic pain. An early career academic, Yee Lian earned her BSc (Honours) (2010) and PhD (2015) from the University of Sydney. She has authored 25 publications, trained 10 research students, and secured $1.5M in funding.

Yee Lian loves spreading the magic of science to everyone. She has given public lectures at National Science Week, run a children’s outreach program at the Cambridge Science Festival, recorded a podcast, and filmed an Elevator Pitch for ABC Science. Through her work with the EMCR Forum Executive (AAS), Yee Lian aims to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in academia by removing barriers to retention for minoritised groups. In recognition of her research achievements and leadership, she won the VC Award for Emerging Researcher of the Year 2020.

Dr Yee Lian Chew is a Superstar of STEM.