"There are great scientists here in Melbourne working on research with gene technology – it’s high-end biotechnology research which is exciting."
Mystica’s career in the biotechnology industry began with the research and development division of Thermo Fisher Scientific in India.
Her team was responsible for the development of recombinant antibodies – small protein molecules produced in labs for use in hospital and scientific research settings.
After three years in her role, Mystica was ready for a new challenge.
She moved to Melbourne in 2018 and was offered a position in the research and development team at major pharmaceutical company CSL.
“I always wanted to come to Melbourne,” said Mystica. “When you talk about biotechnology, Melbourne has world-class research facilities and they offer great collaboration opportunities.”
With her background in molecular and cell biology, Mystica’s expertise was soon put to work on CSL’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine development program here in Victoria.
“Prior to COVID we were working on multiple projects, but when the pandemic hit we started working on vaccine research,” she said. “Our team worked on the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
While 2020 presented some extraordinary challenges, Mystica was grateful for her ability to contribute to Australia’s public health response to the pandemic.
“There were days when there were hundreds of [positive COVID-19] cases and I was going to work, and it felt like what I studied and what I was doing was actually helping the community,” she said. “I really appreciated that I was working on something important – a vaccine to prevent infections and get life back to normal.”
Mystica believes her prior experience in research and development helped her find a job quickly when she moved to Victoria.
“I think the sort of research I was doing previously was recognised by companies here,” she said. “I moved here, applied for one role and got it, then was eligible for Victoria’s skilled migration program. The application process for the visa was really straightforward.”
In addition to the opportunity to be nominated by the Victorian Government, another factor drawing Mystica to the state was the future she could see for herself in her chosen field.
“There are great scientists here in Melbourne working on research with gene technology – it’s high-end biotechnology research which is exciting,” she said.
After a period of such high intensity in her work, Mystica is looking forward to exploring and making the most of her new home state and country.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to meet more people and make more friends, and I can’t wait to travel more around Victoria and Australia,” she said.
“One thing I love about Melbourne is its cultural diversity – the people and the lifestyle are great here.”