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Ewa Goldys

Deputy Director Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics
University of New South Wales, Australia

Ewa Goldys

Country of Birth: Poland
Country of Residence: Australia
Educational Background: PhD in Physics
SPIE Member | SPIE Fellow


I attended an unusual high school where we learned abstract mathematics the way young elite athletes train, except that the focus was on intellectual and not physical muscles. Guided by our teachers, we trained hard and we pushed ourselves harder, toward the goal to win in the International Mathematics Olympiad. To this day, I am drawing strength from this formative experience.

I lead research teams that develop new “windows to the body,” diagnostic technologies of relevance to health. We design new sensing platforms to sense key physiologically relevant molecules. These devices provide us with exciting new ways to look deep into cells at the molecular level. We bring these devices to collaborative research within our centre to advance the understanding of pain, heart disease, and reproduction.

Raising funding to support my ideas has been an ongoing challenge. Fortunately, success tends to breed more success, so this gets somewhat easier. The requirement of fundraising has allowed me to sharpen my research program and target more exciting areas. It has also brought me closer to very exciting research partners in biology and medicine, where funding tends to be more abundant.

I wish I had known that professional success has many ingredients, including the courage and initiative to start new projects, the tenacity to stick with them over the long term, and the ability to finalize these projects. Perseverance and belief in yourself really are key, but so is taking action. Put the hard work in and you will be rewarded for your efforts. Networking and collaborations create exciting opportunities as well.

Confidence may be biologically programmed and linked to gender. Do not confuse confidence with talent and ability or otherwise. Men and women judge themselves very differently. Do not judge yourself, because this is not objective. Also, be aware that there is randomness in the way others judge you. If you allow yourself to follow your passion for STEM you will likely have real and profound opportunities for making meaningful change in society, which will also be extremely satisfying.

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