What is your research interest?
I am originally a parasitologist but my interest is not restricted to parasites and the diseases they cause. I am passionate about health and disease in general and particularly how the health of vulnerable populations can be improved. This ranges from better access to sanitation, education, safe drinking water, healthy eating to mitigating climate change and reducing loss of biodiversity. Making our modern world a healthier world is a big challenge and I am dearly interested in making a small contribution to it.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
Being surrounded by young enthusiastic people making me forget I am not as young as them any longer! More seriously, I most enjoy the challenge of empowering young individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to critically reflect on current issues in health and disease and to persuade them to take part in actions that will make this world a more equitable and healthier world. I am also always amazed by the progress of my students. I teach at all levels, from first year to Masters and I have the privilege to see many students make huge progress throughout their years of study at ANU.
Who is your science hero?
I could say it is Louis Pasteur, being French myself it would make sense! Yet I will rather select an Australian microbiologist, the late Frank Fenner who I had the pleasure and privilege to know. Not only is Frank Fenner internationally well-known for his participation in the eradication of smallpox but less well-known maybe was his implication in environmental science. Yet, it is the generosity and approachability of this grand man which touched me most. He would provide advice and guidance to anyone who asked.
- This profile originally appeared in the RSB newsletter, Issue 80, October 2016.