Women in Innovation: Dr Annamaria De Rosa

"My advice would be to not hesitate to share your passion and pitch your ideas."

We interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries. This week we spoke to Dr Annamaria De Rosa, Co-Founder of Membrane Transporter Engineers.

What are you working on?

I am a plant scientist at the Australian National University and co-founder of a start-up, Membrane Transporter Engineers (MTE). I research small selective pores found in plant cell membranes called aquaporins. These proteins are essential for plants’ survival, acting as gatekeepers for the transport of water, nutrients and other important solutes throughout the plant. Recently, myself and two members from the lab I work in, Dr Caitlin Byrt (Group leader) and Dr Samantha McGaughey, founded MTE to translate our latest findings on how plants process water, nutrients and harmful liquids to address key challenges in the management of wastewater from a range of sources, such as mining and agriculture.

Why is innovation important to you?

I find innovation exciting as it results in new approaches and unexpected solutions to address challenges. Innovation is fundamental to my work, from designing experiments in the lab that might lead to breakthrough discoveries, to thinking about how we can apply our fundamental research discoveries to address novel industry problems.

What drives you to make a difference?

Within our society we increasingly face major challenges in food security, precious resource management and large-scale environmental pollution. We need to address these massive problems by making new discoveries and developing innovative technologies.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?

Our team has been lucky to have had extensive engagement with the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN) over the past 2 years, participating in innovation and accelerator programs, receiving amazing mentorship and advice as well as successful awarding of early-stage funding for our start-up. My advice would be to not hesitate to share your passion and pitch your ideas, and engage early with CBRIN as well as with other start-ups at different stages of their entrepreneurship journey.

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