Alumni Spotlight – Molis Yunzab

The NVRI’s unique space within the Australian vision research landscape grows stronger with the addition of each exceptional researcher. In turn, the NVRI’s stimulating and nurturing environment plays an important role in researchers’ formative years who are making impact internationally.


Molis is an outstanding researcher, who originally joined us as a PhD student and was later appointed the inaugural LEW Carty Lions Postdoctoral Fellow at the NVRI to study the primary visual cortex (V1) and investigate the plasticity of its neural responses.

She has since moved to Boston to take up a Post-doctoral Research Fellow position at Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School. Molis has an honorary appointment with the NVRI as she remains a key research collaborator.


Please describe your time at the NVRI.

I first joined the NVRI as a PhD student and after completion, I continued in the NVRI as a LEW Carty Lions Postdoctoral Research Fellow for another three years. My PhD study focused on investigating the functions of different types of the primary visual cortical neurons and during my Postdoctoral research, I changed my focus to electrical stimulation of retina ganglion cells.

Why did you choose the NVRI?

The decision to join the NVRI was largely a result of Michael moving his lab from the Australian National University  (ANU) in Canberra to the NVRI. I completed my undergraduate Honours project at the (ANU) under Michael’s supervision and really enjoyed the project and the lab’s research environment, so I decided to move relocate to Melbourne and do my PhD with Michael at the NVRI.


What is your fondest memory of your time at the NVRI?

There were too many to count! But what I remember the most are the little spontaneous moments of joy during our 10 am coffee/tea conversations, having a laugh over strange topics at lunch time and the shared excitement after discovering something new during experiments.


One of NVRI’s main goals has been to help support the development of early career researchers. Can you describe how your time at the NVRI help enhance your research career?

I spent most of my early research career at the NVRI, which provided me with a nurturing and stimulating research environment. I had the guidance and the freedom I needed to kickstart my career. I also received ample financial support to travel nationally and international for lab visits to learn new skills, and to attend conferences to showcase my research. It was during one of those conferences, I received the job invitation for my current Postdoctoral position to progress my career in the United States at Harvard University.


Can you describe your experience at the NVRI in two sentences?

I had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends! 10/10.

Molis presenting at Brain Function Centre of Excellence ECR workshop 2018 (hosted at ACO)
Molis presenting at Brain Function Centre of Excellence ECR workshop 2018 (hosted at ACO)
Molis at NVRI FENS satellite meeting, Berlin, 2018
Molis at NVRI FENS satellite meeting, Berlin, 2018