Recorded: 17 Jan 2003
So [it was] an enormous confidence boost that you could do that and so coming back after that postdoc really set me up in a totally new position. I had more confidence in myself. I had things to offer because recombinant DNA methods were quite new at that time and there were I think I knew about four or five labs—this is 1978—four or five labs in Australia that were doing this and mine was one of the pioneers so, we were the experts that other people came to.
So all of that although it’s not strictly a women in science comment is really—you know,how do you get over the lack of confidence, which I think is a little bit of a heritage for women often. I think very much for me it was that postdoc that really gave me that self-confidence to go on and achieve.
Merilyn Sleigh is a pharmacologist, molecular biologist and dean in the Department of Life Sciences at the University of New South Wales. After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Sydney in pharmacology and another PhD in molecular biology at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), she came to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to work under Joe Sambrook as a postdoctoral fellow researching the protein production of SV40. She returned to CSIRO, establishing one of the first laboratories in Australia using genetic engineering approaches to study influenza virus structure, evolution and gene regulation. She has become involved in developing the biotechnological industry in Australia. Sleigh is founding director of the Australian Biotechnology Association and is currently Chief Executive of EvoGenix, a start-up biotechnology company located in Australia.