Professor Marcello Costa

Professor of Neurophysiology - Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor

College of Medicine and Public Health

place Flinders Medical Centre (6E:128.1)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia
Marcello Costa was born in Torino (Turin, Italy) in 1940 where obtained in 1967 his Medical Degree (Laurea in Medicina e Chirurgia)
Migrated to Australia in 1970, was one of the founders of the new discipline of Neuroscience and the Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS), of which become President in the 90s. He holds a personal chair in Neurophysiology at Flinders University, the first in Australia. He has published over 230 scientific papers in international journals, 55 reviews and chapters and written two books in enteric neuroscience and gastrointestinal motor functions.
He was foundation co-chair of the the South Australian Neuroscience Institute (SANI) from 2003 to 2010.
He is active in the field of philosophy of science and education in neuroscience to university students and to the broader public (see publications and CV).
 He actively participates in the activities of the association Friends of Science in Medicine opposing pseudosciences (http://www.scienceinmedicine.org.au/).
Qualifications
He has a degree in Medicine (Laurea in Medicina e Chirurgia) from the University of Torino, Italy obtained in 1967.
Honours, awards and grants

He has been elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science 1988.
Received the honor of "Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana" from the Italian Government in 1992.
Recipient of prize" Piedmontese of the Year" in 1994
Received a Centenary Medal, Australia 2003.
He received the Flinders 40Th anniversary medal for services to the University 2006
Was awarded, together with Ian Gibbins, the "Unsung Hero of South Australian Science Communication" Award for 2008 of the National Science Week, Australian Science Communicators (SA).

Life membership of the ANS, 2010

In 2012 he was made Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor at Flinders University

Inducted member of the Bragg group of the RIAus April 2015

Key responsibilities
Marcello has a personal chair in Neurophysiology and is responsible for a number of topics in neuroscience and run his own experiments since he relinquished his role as directing a large research laboratory. He is leading a team of researchers in a project funded by the ARC (see research)
Research interests
Marcello has been a pioneer in the study of the neural control of gastrointestinal functions with his first paper in this field published in 1965.
He has obtained research funds from National and International competitive peer reviewed granting bodies since his arrival to Flinders in 1975.
His laboratory was funded by the Pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca for 11 years.
His research interest has been expanded to general issues of neuroscience and he is actively involved in exploring the conceptual foundations that brings neurosciences into fields as diverse as Philosophy, Social sciences, Psychology, History of Science, History of Art etc.
He has been funded by National and international granting bodies uninterruptedly since his arrival at Flinders University in 1975.
He is leading a team of researchers from 5 Institutions recipient of a significant  ARC discovery grant for 2012-2014 entitled "Unified framework of intestinal motility".
Teaching interests
Marcello is a passionate teacher of neuroscience both at undergraduate level, postgraduate level and to the general public. He taught at the University of the third age (Flinders) a short topic on Brain and Cognition in 2009, and in 2010 a 6 parts topic on "The Physics of the Mind" at the U3A in Adelaide. He gave talks on Neuroscience at numerous primary and secondary schools. He gave a short course on "Illusions and the Brain" at the Australian School of Mathematics and Physics.
He has established most undergraduate topics in Neuroscience in the School of Medicine and now coordinates two of these.
Was a foundation member of the interfaculty Cognitive Science undergraduate course, now no longer available.
He has been involved in setting up and teaching in the postgraduate neuroscience course offered under the umbrella of SANI by Flinders University.
His commitment to education of scientific approach to human problems and neuroscience led him to be involved, under the umbrella of the South Australian Neuroscience Institute (SANI), in many public events including Science Outside of the Square (SOS) events organised by the South Australian Bragg Initiative and the RIAus. These included Brain and art, Brain and Dance, Brain and Soccer , Galileo celebration. He organised with Ian Gibbins a public event with the folksinger Ronnie Tahini and her group (Outhose Orchestra) on Brain and Music.
Topic coordinator
MMED3924 integrative and higher brain functions
MMED3930 Sensory motor systems
Topic lecturer
MMED2929 Neural Circuits
NEUR8002 The learning Brain
MMED1005 How the body works
Publications
Expert for media contact
Autonomic nerves
Brain
Gastroenterology
Gastrointestinal physiology
Nervous system
Neuroscience
Philosophy
Neurogastroenterology
Neurosciences
philosophy of science
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Autonomic nerves
  • Brain
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gastrointestinal physiology
  • Nervous system
  • Neuroscience
  • Philosophy
Interests
  • Neurogastroenterology
  • Neurosciences
  • philosophy of science
Further information
Marcello is actively involved in Neuroscience research (see publications) and is engaged in public education. 
He has written numerous articles on more general implication of Neuroscience in society (see Fast Thinking articles) and participated to public events on the relevance of Neuroscience in many human activities. He has given many talks on the philosophy of Neuroscience.

He has written articles for local and national magazines, introductions and chapters in edited books.
He is one of the five founder and actively involved in the association "Friends of Science in Medicine" that aims at removing pseudoscience teaching in health courses in tertiary institutions and opposing Goverment benefits to unproven therapies in the complementary and alternative medicine field.

A full list of these documents is appended as a document (Guide to Marcello Costa general science article publications).

Altered states, brain and art (The Advertiser) (pdf)

Biopsychosocial model and medicine part 2 (png)

Biopsychosocial model and medicine part1 (png)

Brain and adventure (The Advertiser) (pdf)

Fast thinking article 1 (pdf)

Fast thinking article 2 (pdf)

Fast thinking article 3 (pdf)

Fast thinking article 4 part 1 (png)

Fast thinking article 4 part 2 (png)

Fast thinking article 4 part 3 (png)

Fast thinking article 4 part 4 (png)

Fast thinking article 5 (pdf)

Fast thinking article 6 (pdf)

Fast thinking article 7 (pdf)

Feeling dizzy (Canberra times) (jpg)

Guide to Marcello Costa general science article publications (doc)

Lombroso and Neuroscience (pdf)