From Professor Karen Reynolds’ early life in England she was inclined towards uncovering how the world worked.
“When I was young, my sister and I were both given suitcases – my sister filled hers with dolls and clothes, and I filled mine with tools and followed my father around the house helping him mend things,” Professor Reynolds said.
By chance at 15 she stumbled upon a careers guide supplement in the Daily Telegraph describing biomedical engineering, and knew that was what she wanted to do, combining her innate interest in engineering with her unrelenting curiosity about health.
She completed an undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Oxford and a masters in biomedical engineering before taking a position at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford as a researcher.
Professor Reynolds’ big break came when she noticed an ad for a biomedical engineering lecturer at Flinders University, where in 2008 she established the award-winning Medical Device Partnering Program with the aim to form links between industry, researchers and health professionals.
The unique program has led to many new products hitting the market, ranging from Austofix’s Ezy-Aim Electronic Distal Targeting System (an orthopaedic device which removes the need for multiple X-rays when fixing bone fractures) to INNOVO Healthcare’s U Stand Frame (a lightweight, portable frame to help patients move from a sit-to-stand position).
“Working closely with end-users and clinicians we are able to respond to industry-driven problems, fast-forwarding the R&D process,” Professor Reynolds said.
Professor Reynolds puts her success in great part down to a very simple piece of advice.
“Find something that you love and chase that dream – with hard work and dedication, you can achieve success and make a difference,” she said.