Professor Marcello Costa was consumed by a fascination with science from an early age, selling his bicycle when he was a child to buy a microscope, so that he could study bugs. He studied medicine simply because it was the best pathway available to study the nervous system.
After migrating to Australia to escape political unrest in Italy, this young doctor helped found the new discipline of neuroscience and was one of the foundation lecturers at the Flinders Medical School.
“The medical school was quite progressive – it had abolished the distinction between teaching and research disciplines and recognised the importance of the various branches of medical science working together,” Professor Costa said.
Professor Costa helped build a reputation for Flinders in neuroscience research and continues to spend much of his working day in the University’s neuroscience laboratories, bridging scientific divides wherever he can.
“I am passionate about using neuroscience to overcome the traditional divide between the sciences and also between science and humanities,” Professor Costa said.
Professor Costa built his life at Flinders around scientific endeavour; he has made a range of landmark discoveries about the role of neurons in driving the activity of the gut.
“Our neurological systems link us to everything we do, shaping our thoughts, culture, intellectual capacity, emotions and our bodily functions. There is no area of science more important to understand, in my view,” Professor Costa said.