Dr Josephine Muir likes putting ideas into action - the bigger the better.
Currently working for Nobel Prize winner Professor Barry Marshall, Dr Muir can also list former Senator the Hon Helen Coonan, and ground-breaking ophthalmologist Dr Angus Turner, as previous bosses.
“I have been so fortunate to work with such highly gifted people who all have amazing energy and brilliant ideas.
“A large part of my role in these jobs has been to make the ideas become reality,” she says.
Born and bred in Perth, Dr Muir completed her undergraduate degree in Politics and Public Relations at home, before heading east to undertake a Master’s in Public Policy and Doctor of Philosophy in Political Communication.
With her education complete she says her role as Helen Coonan’s Chief of Staff was the perfect environment for learning how to see an idea through from concept to reality.
“The mechanics of government are really interesting and certainly an eye-opener. It’s one thing to have an idea but there is a lot of work involved behind the scenes to actually make it happen. You’re in for the long haul, and this served as the perfect apprenticeship to learn how to navigate this space,” she says.
Now Associate Director at the Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Training, Dr Muir is spearheading the charge to commercialise some pretty exciting ideas.
“Having the opportunity to work with Barry was obviously a huge drawcard. Who else would think of applying termite acoustic sensing technology to analyse gut noises?”
“If we can develop a non-invasive tool using this technology to more effectively diagnose and treat irritable bowel syndrome we could significantly help the one in five Australians who suffer from it,” she says.
Using her skill set to push forward this project, Dr Muir participated in UWA IQ’s Start Something earlier this year, a series of five entrepreneur-led workshops designed to encourage enterprise.
“It was a great experience. It moved me out from behind my desk and placed me in an environment full of innovative minds focused on thinking outside of the box.”
From here Dr Muir was awarded a scholarship enabling her to attend the five day Curtin Growth Ignition program, and the project has recently won a place in CSIRO’s prestigious ON Prime pre-accelerator program.
“Start Something has literally started a journey the team probably could never have envisaged. It’s building the capacity of the whole team, and stretching us all in different ways.
“There’s been a positive change in the office, everyone’s bringing in their ideas and they know it’s a safe environment to do this in.
“We’re learning that it’s ok to fail, and we're documenting learnings from the Noisy Gut project to apply to future projects,” she says.
Dr Muir is the first to admit she loves diversity, and when she’s not at the Marshall Centre, you may find her at the Lions Eye Institute where she works one day a week, or doing pro-bono work which is a regular feature in her schedule.
Add two teenagers into the mix and it’s fair to say Dr Muir leads a busy life.
“I’m certainly never bored which is just how I like it.”