Tanya Monro

Tanya Monro - 2014 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

Director, IPAS, and ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow, Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), The University of Adelaide, Australia
Country of Birth: Australia

Educational Background: PhD, BSc 1st class honours, Physics, The University of Sydney, Australia

Tanya MonroI had always wanted to pursue a creative career - doing something that had not been done before; until my early teens I had thought that would be in music. However, an amazing physics teacher opened up my eyes to the stunning beauty of physics and the power of mathematics to describe our universe and I was hooked. And I find that being a physicist is more creative that I would ever have guessed - we get to think up crazy new ideas, and then test them out, often discovering new things along the way.

I lead the directions of research in IPAS, which is a transdisciplinary research institute that brings together 185 physicists, chemists, materials scientists and biologists. I research in the field of nanobiophotonics, with the aim of controlling light down to subcellular scales so we can use it to probe nanoscale processes in living systems in real time. I really enjoy working with industry to solve really interesting practical problems, and find that in doing so, we create the tools required to create new industries as well as advance knowledge.

Find your passion and be persistent yet receptive to feedback and good ideas. Every time you see another person's  success and wonder if you have the capacity to do what they have done, realize that you are not seeing all the set-backs that they experienced along the way. The key differentiator of successful people is that they get back up again after a
fall. Just do it! Don't get derailed wondering whether you will succeed - get good mentors, find something you enjoy,  surround yourself with the best people you can find and dive in.