Australian Science Superheroes – Lila Landowski

“Everything you do, whether you’re thinking about it or not, is controlled by the brain. I’m trying to figure out how to fix it when things go wrong, such as after a stroke.”

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 the#AusScienceHeroes campaign.

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

Science superhero Lila Landowski

Dr Lila Landowski
Postdoctoral research fellow
University of Tasmania

1) What is your science superpower? (in simple terms, tell us about your research)

I’m discovering secrets hidden inside the brain!

Scientists have been trying to develop drugs for stroke, but the current testing models rarely deliver us results that translate into effective human treatments. So I’m creating a new model for testing these drugs.

I’ve also found a natural protein that seems to speed up regeneration of nerves in the skin.

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

When someone has a stroke, they can now take drugs that help their brain return to normal. This is because a new method for testing stroke drugs, created here in Tasmania, has led to some great new discoveries.

Hopefully, we’ve also found a way to regenerate damaged nerves in the skin to stop people suffering from some types of pain.

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

At school camp in Year 4, I caught my first fish. I’d heard that shark liver oil had magical health benefits*, and wondered if the fish slime on my hands possessed medicinal properties too. I decided that when I grew up I wanted to discover a new fish extract that could be used to treat something.

(*It doesn’t.)

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

I have an extensive cape wardrobe and am rarely seen without one.

My second cape is for making sure people can hear about science in ways that are meaningful and fun. My other favourite capes are for fishing, being a carer, and attempting to make music with friends!