Kristyn Bates

Bye! Thanks for all those mind-bending questions!

Favourite Thing: Making a discovery! It is truly amazing when you are the first person to EVER see something!



Duncraig Senior High School, 1991-1995


University of Western Australia (1996-2000, 2001-2005)

Work History:

Edith Cowan University, New York University


University of Western Australia

Current Job:

I’m an assistant professor, this means I think of new experiments to do in our lab and help my students to do them.

Me and my work

I am interested in how our brain works and how to make it work better!

I have always been fascinated by how the human brain works, how can all of our thoughts, feelings, memories and senses be contained in a jelly-like blob?

How do we know about our environment? How do we form memories and then remember past events? How can we try and prevent our brain from not working properly? These are some of the questions that I am really interested in trying to figure out. In our laboratory, we do experiments to try and learn how brain cells communicate and how we can restore this communication when brains are injured or diseased.

At work, I also do some teaching to university students in the subject of neuroscience and we also do lots of science communication activities like “I’m a Scientist”. Sometimes I have to travel to other cities around the world and meet with other scientists to talk about our work and make new friends and work-mates.

Occasionally I have to give talks to other scientists or to members of the public, which can be pretty scary, but its so exciting to talk about your research and let people know about all the amazing things we are learning about the brain.


My Typical Day

I do some work in the lab, usually doing some experiments to show what brain cells look like and how they are behaving, and I write about the work we are doing.

I tend to spend a lot of time on my computer, reading and responding to emails and writing research papers or grant applications. Sometimes I have to read other people’s research and decide whether or not it should be published in a journal or if they should receive money to continue their research.

I also do some lab work, usually helping my student perform an experiment and look at her results. About once a fortnight I have a class to teach for university students. This could be a lecture or a lab class.

myimage3I am interested in a particular sort of brain cell, called an Astrocyte. They are called astrocytes because they look like stars!

What I'd do with the money

I’d purchase some models and other materials for our science outreach activities like brain models and plaster moulds.

We do lots of science outreach and communication activities with school children in Perth. I’d really like to get some proper brain models so we can show the different parts of the brain.

I’d also like to get some plastic moulds so we can make plaster models of human and animal brains that children can paint.


My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Curious, happy, dedicated

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Top three would be Pearl Jam, Radiohead and Metallica

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Probably become a mum!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

See my kids grow to be happy adults, have a successful career, retire disgracefully with my husband

What did you want to be after you left school?

A palaeontologist!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Yes, for talking too much in class :(

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

See my first PhD student graduate and lots of travel around the world!!

Tell us a joke.

What do you call a camel with no hump? Humphrey.

Sports followed

Netball, AFL

Favourite team

West Coast Fever, West Coast Eagles