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My favourite: Shila Ghazanfar

6 April 2017

Shila Ghazanfar works in the evolving field of statistical bioinformatics which looks for genetic relationships that might give new insights into diseases like cancer. She loves her work. She also loves a few other things.

Shila Ghazanfar (BSc (AdvMaths) (Hons) ’13) is a PhD student working in the evolving field of statistical bioinformatics, which models and analyses biological systems involving genes. The goal is to find genetic relationships that might lead to new understandings of diseases such as cancer. She enjoys working with colleagues and collaborators and is also passionate about teaching statistics, believing that statistical literacy is important in today’s increasingly datadriven society.


Food definitely tops the list of my favourites! I’m a first-generation Australian with Afghani heritage so I have a keen love of Afghan cuisine. Some recipes I learn from my mum, others I learn from YouTube like everyone else. Pictured is a special dish called mantu – steamed minced lamb and onion dumplings covered in garlic yoghurt and lentil sauce.


Running or jogging is a great way to escape from the cares of everyday work and life. I like to play some music and run around my local park, especially early in the morning. I pass by a river and see some lovely parklands, and sometimes come across colourful birds like these rainbow lorikeets.


Doing a PhD has opened up many opportunities to travel, to visit other labs and to attend domestic and international conferences. Last year I presented talks at two international bioinformatics conferences. Making use of a little downtime, I saw snow for the first time! And when it’s as fresh as seen here at Yosemite National Park on a sunny January morning, it’s sure to be one of my favourites.


I am definitely a cat-obsessed person. Not owning one myself doesn’t stop me from hanging out with other friends’ feline pets. Who’d have thought you could take a cat for a walk?


If you know me, you know that I always carry a book in my bag. I love to read, usually on the train. Mostly classics like Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, but recently I’ve been throwing some popular science and feminist books into the mix. This photo is of a ‘give one, take one’ honour system bookshelf in a Melbourne mall.


All of my time as a PhD student has also been as a Postgraduate Teaching Fellow. This means I have taught many classes, ranging from small tutorials to quite large lectures. It’s certainly not easy, but the way I’ve improved in terms of explaining concepts and increasing my confidence makes teaching one of my favourites.

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