Michelle Gibson - transcript

I'm Michelle Gibson, and I'm a lecturer in Pharmacy and Science here at La Trobe Uni and I've been here for 22 years. As a member of academic staff I'm involved in teaching, I do research, and there is of course University administration. So they are the three broad areas that anybody does, and I'm involved in teaching in the Pharmacy course and in the Science course. I teach Pharmacology and Physiology to all levels of students. I have a research laboratory, and we do cardiac muscle research mostly but I also work in collaboration with Jasim Al-Rawi with Medicinal Chemistry, and with David Morton looking at Toxicology.

Administration, well that's all about course management, the University is undergoing a restructuring curriculum design, so it's undergoing a restructure there. And, we're involved with planning all the new units and all of the new assessments. I've got honour students in the laboratory working on cardiovascular research. We have been doing some work for the last five years now on serotonin with snail heart, and looking at rat heart as a model for the human tissue as well. So that's an ongoing research program where we are looking at how serotonin alters cardiac output and the strength of contraction and how calcium movements in the heart might be altered by serotonin.

I'm initiating a new project with Jasim, he has synthesised some organic compounds, they're potential drugs, and he and I are working with his PhD students developing new assay to test these agents in cardiac cell lines. Either cell culture techniques or with fresh cardiac cells isolated from a variety of different sources.

I actually studied at La Trobe University, Bundoora. I'm a graduate from there, from the school of Zoology in Bundoora. I worked at Melbourne Uni for a little while, as a research assistant in the Faculty of Medicine, and I worked at the Austin Hospital in the Pharmacy department for a while, and after my PhD studies I came to Bendigo when it was the Bendigo College of Advanced Education. It had no affiliation with La Trobe, and I think it's an interesting twist of fate that I am now a member of academic staff of the University I started in.

Initially I wanted to be a doctor, and in fact I wanted to be a surgeon, but that changed as I grew older, and once I went to university I realised: no, I really wanted to be a scientist. I find designing experiments really interesting, and my mentors and my teachers at University, really inspired this whole concept of play. We forget about play and how important it is, and I try to teach my students here: you can have fun in doing something that sounds as mundane as a hypothesis test. If you can teach students to understand what they are doing scientifically - but still have that element of fun - you will go a long way further than if you see it as just a drudgery, or a repetitive chore. So, it was the whole notion of exploring new worlds and not knowing the answers that pushed me into science.