2020 MBC Medalist

2020 MBC Medalist

Dr Alex Schumann-Gillett ​

Dr Alex Schumann-Gillett currently works as a Technology Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia. After graduating from Moreton Bay College in 2010, Alex pursued her interest in science and studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland (UQ), where she was awarded a UQ Merit Scholarship.

During her undergraduate degree, Alex combined her love of physics and biology by studying biophysics and discovered that she loved research. This passion naturally led her to complete her Honours year, where she used computer simulations to study how a protein on the surface of pneumonia-causing bacteria binds to the human throat. Alex was awarded the UQ Alumni Prize 3 for the highest mark in biochemistry Honours 2015, and her Honours research resulted in her first scientific research publication.

In 2016, Alex started her PhD at the Australian National University in Canberra, funded by an ANU PhD Scholarship and a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship. During her three-year PhD, Alex continued to use computer simulations to perform scientific research. Here, she studied how different proteins in the human body bind to fat-like molecules when people have diseases. For example, she has studied how molecules similar to omega-3 fats could help stop a protein found in the spinal cord from sending signals of chronic pain.

Alex has presented her research at several conferences nationally and internationally, including in Edinburgh (where she was awarded a Poster Prize and a Travel Bursary), Munich, and Singapore (at the Global Young Scientists Summit).

During her PhD, Alex was also an active member of her community, where she was on both the Chemistry Research Student Committee and the Equity and Diversity Committee, was co-Executive Director of the STEM gender equity student organisation Fifty50, and volunteered for organisations including the YWCA Canberra, UN Women and the National Youth Science Forum.

In 2016, Alex was awarded the inaugural Australian Institute of Management Student Leader of the Year award in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory). Alex completed her PhD in 2019 and her thesis was made up of seven research publications. Since then, she has continued her pursuit of learning by moving to work in Technology Consulting. Here, her goal is to use her strong research and analytical skills to help clients solve important, complex problems.