Australia's Chief Scientist

Australian Science Superheroes – Dominic Hare

“My superpower is using lasers to see the atoms that make up the brain.”

Australian scientists work right across every inch of our sunburnt country, and across every field of discovery. Now, the Office of the Chief Scientist is shining a light on some of the Australian Science Superheroes with a new campaign – #AusScienceHeroes.

Check back regularly for new profiles, and make sure you check out the Chief Scientist Facebook and twitter accounts for more coverage.

Dr Dominic Hare
@ferrumvita
Head of Atomic Pathology Laboratory
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Melbourne

1) What is your science superpower?

My superpower is using lasers to see the atoms that make up the brain. More specifically, I use sensitive equipment to see where different periodic table elements are found inside our brains. This helps us understand the chemical reactions that cause cell death in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and motor neuron disease.

2) The year is 2030. How has life changed as a result of your research?

Just as all life is the result of a chemical reaction, every disease starts with one too. By 2030, we use technology that maps the atomic building blocks of life to work out when and where things go wrong, and how we can stop it happening in the first place.

3) What drew you to science in the first place?

A few too many crime novels! I originally studied forensic science and started working in a mortuary. The longer I was there the less interested I became in crime and criminals, and instead became fascinated with how the brain works and the mysteries of the diseases that affect it.

4) When you’re not wearing your science superhero cape, what do you get up to?

As a new dad, I spend most of my cape-less time chasing around our little one, and often catch myself wondering about what’s going on in his growing brain. They say you should avoid taking work home with you, but it’s hard to ignore how amazing our brains are!