Women of Bio21 - Ineke Muir

Women of Bio21 'Mini Profiles': Dr Ineke Muir, CSL Research, Vascular Biophysics

Tell us about your research:

I lead a team that is interested in the effects of flow and surface interactions on CSL’s pre-clinical therapeutics and use microfluidics with physiologically relevant surface coatings to investigate these effects on vascular and haematological processes.  To support these experiments, we use multi-phase computational fluid dynamics to model the results. By coupling the data generated by both the experiments and the simulations we can create a more detailed picture which increases understanding to a far greater extent than by either method on its own.

What did you want to be growing up?

Without a clear idea of what I wanted to be, I followed my interest in science and found I had a passion for problem-solving, and a curiosity to discover how things worked.  This led me to study physical chemistry and everything else just evolved from that.

A key challenge you’ve faced?

As a child we moved around a lot and although I was born in Australia, I spent most of my school years in Europe and Asia.  Each move to a new country and a new school was difficult but has hopefully made me more resilient and open to challenges. It also taught me the value of friendship and the importance of belonging to a community.

What achievement are you most proud of?

I am part of a multi-disciplinary collaboration between diverse areas including chemical engineering, physical chemistry and haematology and I’m proud of my ability to successfully facilitate the complex and complementary interactions in our team.  When we all combine our expertise and contribute ideas to progress our common goal, we have the power to advance science and be part of exciting cutting-edge research.

What do you hope for women in STEM?

I hope that in the not too distant future we no longer need to use the distinction of “women” in STEM and instead we consider “people” in STEM.  Inequity based solely on a person’s gender is not conducive to a happy and healthy community, nor good science!

Who inspires you most?

Many people inspire me, and the list is often changing.  Currently I am most inspired by people who care enough about the effect they are having on our environment to make sacrifices to their lifestyle to minimise climate change, pollution and the loss of biodiversity.  I find the level of general apathy by so many of our politicians on this topic very dispiriting, particularly when there are so many creative solutions that are ignored or dismissed.

What is your passion/hobby/interest outside of work?

I enjoy exploring the many fabulous Victorian rail trails by bicycle, cooking for friends and family, and occasionally disappearing to a quiet place with a good book.