STEM Superstars - Dr Teresa Ubide and Dr Yanni Chin
STEM Superstars - Dr Teresa Ubide and Dr Yanni Chin
11 December 2018

A volcanologist researching ways to better understand eruptions and a structural biologist and toxinologist studying venom-peptides, have been named STEM Superstars for inspiring women to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

University of Queensland researchers Dr Teresa Ubide and Dr Yanni Chin have each been offered one of 60 coveted positions in the Science and Technology Australia (STA) Superstars of STEM program, which aims to change gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM.

Dr Ubide said that she was delighted to encourage the next generation of female scientists.

“I’m truly honoured and extremely excited to represent women in science and help inspire the next generation of female scientists,” she said.

“I hope to convey my excitement of science and discovery – especially in the field of volcanology – and empower girls to study in STEM fields.”

Dr Ubide was awarded the position for her ground-breaking research, focusing on how volcanoes work and what triggers them to erupt.

“My team investigates processes that take place deep inside volcanoes, by studying crystals that are transported to the surface during eruptions,” she said.

“These tiny crystals contain a very detailed record of pre-eruptive histories, but extracting that history can be very challenging.

“We develop and apply modern laboratory techniques to interrogate the crystals and extract as much information as possible from them.

“By understanding what led to eruptions in the past, we can better predict when they may erupt in the future, and help inform volcano monitoring efforts.”

Dr Yanni Chin is a structural biologist and toxinologist who is part of a team investigating the venoms of spiders and scorpions, as well as insects and marine animals.

“I specialise in the study of 3-dimensional molecular structures of venom-peptides from these venomous animals,” she said.

“Our team has discovered new molecules within venom that could become drug leads to treat nervous system disorders like pain, epilepsy and stroke.”

Dr Ubide said her mother was her very own STEM ‘superstar’, supporting her to pursue her dream science career from an early age.

“My mum has always been an enormous female science role model in my life,” she said.

“She’s a Professor in Chemistry in Spain, and over the years I’ve realised just how fantastic a scientist and mother she is. 

“But she’s not alone, and I’ve been incredibly inspired by trailblazers like Marie Curie, Germaine Joplin and UQ’s own Dorothy Hill.

“Young girls need to know that they can be whatever they want to be, and if they’re interested in a career in science, then it’s time they pursue it.”

Watch Dr Teresa talk about her research on Vimeo.

Media: Dr Teresa Ubide,, +61 403 334 152; Dominic Jarvis,, +61 413 334 924.