The Life Technologies Education Award: Marian Dobos

School of Medical Sciences
RMIT University

DobosMarian Dobos graduated from Monash University with a BSc (Hons), followed by a PhD in Professor Joseph Bornstein’s laboratory working with the enzyme acetyl CoA carboxylase and its regulation by growth hormone-derived peptides. Marian continued postdoctoral studies in Melbourne at Prince Henry’s Medical Research Centre with Professor David de Kretser and Professor Henry Burger, working in reproductive male endocrinology on the purification, characterisation and mechanisms of action of inhibin. Interested to combine teaching with research, Marian joined the Department of Applied Biology at RMIT University, where she is currently an Associate Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the School of Medical Sciences. At RMIT, Marian developed new research interests in applied biotechnology research and new collaborations, starting with immobilised industrial enzymes in collaborations with Dr Dinesh Sood (Microelectronics and Materials Technology Centre) and Dr John Harris (Chemical Engineering), followed by work on lactic acid bacteria (LAB), including LAB molecular genetics with Dr Alan Hillier and Dr Barrie Davidson (University of Melbourne) and industrial LAB strain characterisation with Dr Ian Powell (Australian Starter Culture Research Centre). While at RMIT, Marian discovered her passion for teaching and for a deeper understanding of student learning. In 1998, she pioneered the development and implementation of a new teaching methodology for Biochemistry students using student-centred collaborative learning. The Peer Group initiative, a collaboration with Dr Baden Rumble and Dr Carmel McNaught, was sustained at RMIT for ten years. During this time, this teaching development underwent several iterations in response to the changed teaching and learning environment. In recent years, Marian has participated in a cross-disciplinary educational research team at RMIT and developed and implemented several projects aimed at improving student learning in large classes through reflection and engagement with ‘learning styles’. Marian was the recipient of a National Teaching Development Grant and numerous RMIT teaching development grants, as well as research grants. In recognition of her contributions to educational initiatives, Marian was awarded two RMIT teaching awards: the 2001 Faculty of Life Sciences Teaching Quality Award: Student-centred Teaching and the 2006 College of Science, Engineering and Technology Teaching Award: Student Choice Award (nominated by students). In other cross-university activities, Marian was a long-standing member of the RMIT Academic Board and contributed to the RMIT Teaching and Learning Strategy Committee and the inaugural RMIT Educational Quality Assurance Committee.