Rowan Burchill


Dreaming of a scientific future

I'm from: Hobart
Current Location: Hobart
Position: Honours Student, Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Field of research/work: Neurology & Epigenetics
YTS Years: 2023

Rowan's Notable career moments

  • Discovered a love of biology thanks to an amazing teacher

  • I got to work in my first lab

  • Started a project looking at brains

  • left Uni due to burnout

  • Rediscovered my passion for science while teaching

  • Decided to give medical research another go!

About Rowan Burchill

I grew up reading 2nd hand science fiction novels from the old stacks you can find in small bookstores. My childhood was filled with stories of alien worlds, interplanetary travel, and elevators you could ride from the ground all the way into space! The lure of stories is what brought me into science but it’s the ideas and the ways of thinking that keep me here. To be a scientist is to look to the future with interest. To question things and search for answers. In the end, all it takes to be a scientist is to ask “why?”


Now I study an area called epigenetics. If you can imagine an instruction manual called DNA, that is used to create every person on the planet; then I study what happens when people start changing their own manual through life’s experiences. They don’t rewrite the manual, just change small stuff like punctuation. But even small stuff is important, punctuation is the difference between “let’s eat, kids!” and “let’s eat kids!”


Right now, the field of epigenetics is just getting started, but I like to dream about what it could one day be, what research like mine could one day achieve. What if we could create super-athletes by changing their manual? or make it so people can’t be touched by diseases anymore? And what technologies will we build to let humans reach into the cosmos and begin exploring like never before? These technologies are dreams to many, and I can’t wait to see a scientific future where we turn these ideas from fiction into fact.