Get to Know: Frances Separovic, BPS Secretary

We recently spoke with Biophysical Society Secretary Frances Separovic, University of Melbourne, Australia, about why she loves biophysics, what makes Australia unique, and her surprising life goal.

frances-headshotWhat is your current position & area of research?

I am professor and Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne. My primary research area is membrane biophysics and biological solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Our lab studies how peptides and toxins get into cell membranes.

What drew you to a career as a biophysicist?

Working out how things work, and being able to do this at an atomistic level is thrilling.

What do you find unique or special about BPS? Why are you excited to serve as secretary?

The diversity of fields covered by our members and the pervasive enthusiasm for discovery. As secretary, I hope to raise awareness of how biophysics underlies our understanding of biological systems and welcome the opportunity to help bring together the global biophysics community.

Who do you admire  and why?

Richard Feynman, Marie Curie and Nelson Mandela come to mind – their passion, persistence and pursuit to resolve often conflicted principles.

What do you like to do, aside from science?

Travel – although it is usually associated with science. I enjoy reading novels, movies, plays, exhibitions and stand-up comedy.

What makes you most proud about living in Australia?

Its natural beauty, lifestyle, and multiculturalism. I immigrated to Australia as a child and was fortunate to grow up learning from different cultures.

What do you want scientists to know about biophysics/science research in Australia?

The Australian Society for Biophysics will celebrate its 40th Anniversary this year. Although small on a world scale, we kick above our weight and, although on the other side of the globe, we are well connected. We’re also proud of the Braggs who, a hundred years ago, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for X-ray crystallography.


The Nullarbor Plain, spanning the border between South Australia and Western Australia

What is something BPS members would be surprised to learn about you?

I love to drive long distances while listening to loud music – my ambition is to drive a road train [a truck pulling multiple trailers] across the Nullarbor.


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