Connect with a Medical Scientist (Biology)

Laboratory Medicine guest speaker program

Have you ever wondered what happens to your blood once it’s been taken by the doctor? Or have you wondered who is behind the scenes of the COVID-19 testing process? What about how your doctor knows what type of infection you may have after taking a swab from your skin?

Medical Scientists work behind the scenes to test and diagnose all manner of bodily fluids and tissues, providing diagnoses for your doctor. They work in laboratories and hospitals all over the world, and without them we wouldn’t be able to get the diagnosis we need for treatment.

Connect with a Tasmanian Medical Scientist to find out more about the field and quiz them about the crazy and ground-breaking things they get to work on!


  • Suitable for years 7 - 12
  • Expected duration of 50 minutes
  • Offered online only
  • Format includes a 10 - 15 minute overview of the presenters' work and career (and in some cases a demonstration), followed by a Q&A session
  • Register below to book a guest speaker for your class or school
  • Available until November 30, 2020


Nicole is a lecturer in Laboratory Medicine, prior to this, she worked as a medical scientist for 17 years in pathology laboratories located in North Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Her interests lie in the interaction of the innate immune system with the pathogenesis of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and the inflammatory bowel diseases. She is passionate about understanding the complex interaction of factors that result in intestinal inflammation and the perpetuation of chronic inflammatory illnesses such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Steve worked as a Medical Scientist for over 10 years in both hospital and private pathology labs across the country including Launceston, Darwin, and Cairns. He loved the excitement of diagnosing disease while he was a Medical Scientist, especially when working in the tropics. Steve came back to the University as a lecturer and medical researcher. He really enjoys interacting with students and sharing his interest in microbiology and he loves the discovery associated with Medical Research. Steve is currently the head of Laboratory Medicine, with the School of Health Sciences.

Steve has travelled across the country and the globe with his research, which includes the role of nuclear receptors breast cancer, and the role of nuclear receptors and gene regulation in type 2 diabetes and obesity (just to name a few!). Steve is passionate about his students and creating the next wave of medical scientists, he loves the enthusiasm and smiles on his student's faces when they learn new things.

Jeff is a lecturer and medical researcher in Laboratory Medicine. His career path is a little different than most of his colleagues. Jeff has a trade as an auto-technician, but 5 years working in the trade he wanted to focus on something different, a career in science. He had always liked science at school, so he took the plunge, quit his trade, and enrolled in general science with the University of Tasmania. He had never studied human biology at this point but after the first year in this course, he knew he loved it and changed courses into a Laboratory Medicine degree.

During all this time, he thought he would continue to pursue a research career, but as he became more involved in teaching he realised he enjoyed passing on his love of human biology to the next generation of students. He really enjoys the chance to teach and conduct research across a variety of different subjects within the broad area of medical science.

Sam completed his Bachelor of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Tasmania and started working while he was student in an environmental microbiology lab. After graduation, he worked in anatomical pathology at Launceston Pathology right up until last year. Sam now works as a Research Officer for the Respiratory Translational Research Group (RTRG) and is a lecturer in Laboratory Medicine. Sam also used his scientific skills to qualify, and volunteer as a reef research diver in the Seychelles for a month! He loves the challenges he is faced with daily as a scientist, as each day presents different case studies and different challenges that require troubleshooting and figuring out. It's never boring and always provides opportunities to grow and explore.

Sukhwinder (Romy) Sohal’s area of specialty is in Respiratory Immunopathology. Romy has accomplished a great deal over his career and has had the opportunity to travel the globe with his work.

His journey to the University of Tasmania happened with an interest in smoking-related lung disease. Prior to this he was conducting research on immunopathology of asthma at Southampton General Hospital (UK). While he was working there, he used to see hospital staff and patients smoking outside the hospital and wondered what it would be doing to their lungs. Romy’s curious mind led him to become a specialist in Respiratory Immunopathology, particularly looking at smoking-related chronic lung disease.