WOMEN IN STEM
Meet Rou Jun Toh

You should always try to do your best. Don't let any obstacles stand in your way. By believing in yourself you'll be able to achieve anything.

Portrait Rou Jun Toh © Rou Jun Toh Could you provide us with details about your current role, career and studies?
 
I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at CSIRO. My area of study is in biomaterial interface chemistry and electrochemical sensing.
 
In my current role, I aim to develop biosensors for wound healing. Wound healing is a complex biochemical process involving distinct stages which if not occurring in a proper and timely sequence, can lead to chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers. However, clinicians currently lack effective tools for accurate wound assessment.
 
Managing chronic wounds has hence become a major issue consuming significant amounts of healthcare funding. Electrochemical techniques are particularly attractive due to their remarkable limit of detections, simplicity, low-costs and ease of miniaturisation. These, combined with strategically constructed platforms, can provide fast, sensitive, selective and low-cost detection of biomarkers of wound-healing status. 
 
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
 
I have always been intrigued and amazed by science and how much has been achieved through it. I am blessed to have met mentors and friends along the way who have provided patient guidance and encouragement, which has allowed me to discover my passion for research, and hence pursue a career in STEM.
 
What do you like about your job and what makes it challenging?
 
My job allows me to understand and appreciate the complex beauty of creation. I am then able to apply this knowledge and contribute to solving an issue or improving the quality of life. Of course, the process of doing so can be discouraging when faced with experimental failures and obstacles. However, as Thomas Edison once put it “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” The journey of discovery is in itself an enjoyable one.
 
What professional achievements are you most proud of?
 
I am most proud of the ability to share my knowledge and passion. My meticulous planning and execution of experiments and analyses has resulted in a number of insightful conclusions cited by scientist in similar fields. Presently, I have 16 first author and co-authored publications in journals such as Analytical Chemistry and Advanced Functional Materials. I believe that the prompt and active exchange of ideas fosters excellence and creativity. Moreover, the discovery of new knowledge is made even more satisfying as I share this passion and skill set with the next generation through participating in events such as STEM in Schools and Girls’ Day.      
  
What is the one piece of advice you would give to young girls thinking about pursuing a career in STEM? 
 
You should always try to do your best. Don't let any obstacles stand in your way. By believing in yourself you'll be able to achieve anything.  
 
To the Girls´Day Australia website