Eleanor grew up in the 1980s, a time when genetic engineering just started to emerge as a major technological breakthrough. Inspired by its potential to improve human healthcare, she joined UNSW to commence her study in molecular genetics. There she was involved in the development and commercialisation of an innovative genotyping technology for HIV resistant testing. Her work was awarded runner up in AGSM Connector’s Business Planning Competition in 2002. After graduating with a first class Honours, Eleanor continued her research with renowned immunologists Professor Chris Goodnow and Professor Carola Vinuesa at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU. While working in their laboratory, she developed a fast and accurate gene mapping technique that contributed to the identification of several novel genes important for immune regulation.
It was Eleanor’s first-hand experience in technology development that deeply intrigued her about the fascinating world of research commercialisation. In a quest to reach a conceptual understanding of how scientific discoveries are translated from lab to market, she undertook a PhD study with Professor Sue Stocklmayer, a pioneer in science communication and policy research, at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. Eleanor’s research tracked the development of the innovation and commercialisation policies in Australia and examined the current technology transfer and IP management practices. She received her PhD in 2011 with the thesis ‘30 years After the Bayh-Dole Act: Rethinking the Australian Research Commercialisation Experience’.