Deakin biostatistician named ‘STEM superstar’

Improving Health and Wellbeing

IPAN’s Dr Karen Lamb will join a national program promoting the achievements of women in science and technology.

A research fellow from Deakin University’s world-leading Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Dr Karen Lamb has been welcomed to the inaugural 2017 “Superstars of STEM” Program.

The 30 successful women were announced by Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, at an event in Sydney today.

The program aims to raise the profile of Australia’s most dynamic female scientists and technologists and create a critical mass of strong, visible, relatable and public female role models in STEM.

The women will complete a four-day masterclass in advanced communication, receiving training in public speaking and storytelling, working with the media, and communicating with influence. They will then be provided with opportunities to use their skills in the media, online, with decision makers and with the community – acting as role models to inspire young women and girls.

Co-director of IPAN, and Head of Deakin’s School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Professor David Crawford congratulated Dr Lamb on her achievement.

“Deakin knows that when women are given the opportunity to succeed in STEM they don’t just contribute, they lead the pack”
Prof David Crawford
Professor David Crawford Head Of School

“Deakin’s two current Australian Laureates are women, who are leading the world in STEM-related research. Professor Maria Forsyth’s research into battery technology is breaking new ground, and Professor Svetha Venkatesh is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts in pattern analysis for accelerating scientific innovation.”ball

Dr Lamb’s mentor, Associate Head of School (Research) for Exercise and Nutrition Sciences and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Professor Kylie Ball said there were still not enough women entering careers in STEM disciplines.

“While there are a number of reasons for this, a lack of role models is one key factor,” Professor Ball said.

“Karen is not only a brilliant statistician. She is a dedicated and inspiring role model and champion for other women working in or considering careers in statistics”
Prof Kylie Ball
Professor Kylie Ball Associate Head Of School (Research)

“I’m thrilled not just for the recognition it provides to Karen, but also for the great potential benefit it will bring to the many women she will come into contact with as part of this program, and to statistics and STEM disciplines more broadly.”

Originally from Scotland, Dr Lamb first came to Australia to complete a short project at Deakin after meeting Professor Ball at a medical research conference in Glasgow.

“I then worked for two years at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, but I found my way back to Kylie and Deakin when I became an Alfred Deakin Post-Doctoral Research Fellow three-and-a-half years ago,” she said.

“Kylie is an absolutely fantastic role model herself. Women in senior positions in this field are quite rare and they can make all the difference.”

Dr Lamb currently collaborates with colleagues across IPAN, providing statistics support and consultation for projects in nutrition and physical activity, as well as furthering her own research.

“I love the diversity and type of projects I can get involved in – and that I get to make a special contribution through my skills in mathematics”
Dr Karen Lamb
Dr Karen Lamb Research Fellow

“I think it’s really important that people, especially women, are aware what you can do with mathematics. There really are so many opportunities out there.

“It will be exciting to help people empower themselves. Maths doesn’t have to be dry. A lot of my working days are spent working with people, learning about the problems they are seeking to solve and designing projects to help them.”

Published by Deakin Research 3 July 2017.

Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN)

IPAN aims to improve health and quality of life using innovative, quality research, which seeks to significantly enhance health in Australia and reduce the rates of chronic disease.