Emeritus Professor Ian Gibbins

Emeritus Professor

College of Medicine and Public Health

place Health Sciences Building (6E:121)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Ian retired in March 2014, having been at Flinders since 1984, and Professor of Anatomy and Histology from 1993. His research on the microscopic structure and function of autonomic and visceral sensory nerves has been internationally recognised, accruing more than 4,500 citations. Ian taught extensively across a wide range of courses, covering anatomy, biomechanics, neuroscience and embryology. He played a large role in the development of the Graduate Entry Medical Program and coordinated a ground-breaking course in the neuroscience of learning for school teachers.

Ian has much "public science", especially in the fields of neuroscience and anatomy, often in collaboration with artists. He is a widely published poet and electronic musician. Post-retiremnet, these activities will be his major focus. 

For Ian's creative work, see: http://www.iangibbins.com.au and http://www.facebook.com/IanGibbins.poetry.music.science

BSc (Hons) in Zoology, University of Melbourne, 1977
PhD in Zoology, University of Melbourne, 1981
Fil.dr (h.c) [honorary doctorate], University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 1995
Honours, awards and grants
Burns-Alpers Clinical Teaching Award, 2002
Lawrie Austin Plenary Lecture on Neurochemistry, Australian Neuroscience Society, 2006
Flinders University Staff Award for Outstanding Contribution to the University, 2007
National Science Week Unsung Hero of Science Communication (with Marcello Costa), 2008
Bren Gannon Award for Excellence and Dedication to Teaching, 2009, from Flinders Medical Students Society

Emeritus Professor, 2014.
Research expertise
Creative Writing
Research interests

I am no longer doing any laboratory based research.

My main areas of interest have been:

Structure and function of the peripheral autonomic nervous system.

  • sympathetic pathways regulating gastro-intestinal activity
  • pelvic pathways to female genital tract
  • ganglionic transmission

Organisation of peripheral sensory neurons and their projections to the spinal cord.

  • peptidergic and non-peptidergic pain pathways
  • sensory innervation of female genital tract

Interactions between peripheral sensory and autonomic pathways.

Neuropeptides and non-synaptic transmission.

  • quantitative confocal microscopy of peptide diffusion and receptor binding
  • Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy, Raster Image Correlation Spectroscopy
My main techniques have been:
Multiple-labelling immunofluorescence.
Confocal microscopy, including fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.
Electron microscopy.
Quantitative image analysis, including 3D reconstructions and their quantitative analysis.
Intra-cellular electrophysiology.
High level multivariate statistics.
Teaching interests
I am no longer actively teaching. During my time at Flinders, I had major teaching and curriculum development into:
  1. Years 1&2 of the Graduate Entry Medical Program, especially in Musculo-skeletal System, Brain & Behaviour, Embryology, and Introductory Anatomy & Histology.
  2. Bachelor of Biomedical Science, especially Year 3 "Body Systems" and Laboratory Placements
  3. Graduate Certificate in Neuroscience (Learning), an innovative program about neuroscience primarily for school teachers which ran from 2006-2010.

My teaching focused on innovative content, assessment and delivery methods to engage the students with material that is interesting and relevant. In 2010, I had a Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant, with Artist in Residence, Catherine Truman, to find out how students interact with the complex learning environment in Anatomy teaching. This work continued in 2011 funded by an ANAT/Synapse grant and has formed the basis of on-going art-science collaborative projects.

Expert for media contact
Autonomic Nerves
Art and science collaborations.
Autonomic Nerves
Cultural History of Anatomy
General Anatomy
Sensory Nerves
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Anatomy
  • Autonomic Nerves
  • Embryology
  • Microscopy
  • Neuroscience
  • Poetry
  • Art and science collaborations.
  • Autonomic Nerves
  • Cultural History of Anatomy
  • Embryology
  • General Anatomy
  • Microscopy
  • Sensory Nerves

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