TWO academics from Monash Rural Health Churchill had the opportunity to support aspiring scientists in war-torn Ukraine recently.

Students provided guest lectures as part of an ‘Education and Science Without Borders’ program at Taras Shevcheko National University of Kyiv (KNU).

Associate Professor Marianne Tare from Monash Rural Health, Churchill delivered an online physiology lecture to science students at KNU – on the topic of ‘Vascular function in health and disease’.

Through this lecture, a research connection was forged between Churchill and Kiev.

Dr Olesia Moroz, an Assistant Professor at KNU, was inspired by Associate Professor Tare’s work in smooth muscle function in blood vessels.

Dr Moroz travelled from Ukraine to Clayton earlier this year to learn from Associate Professor Tare and Professor Helena Parkington from Monash University’s Department of Physiology.

The two are internationally recognised experts in a unique technique of capturing simultaneous recordings of smooth muscle membrane potential and tension, and spent six weeks teaching Dr Moroz the specialised technique in their lab.

Since the initial lecture by Associate Professor Tare, Dr David Reser – Senior Lecturer at Monash Rural Health, Churchill – has also delivered a lecture on the ‘Anatomy and Physiology of Auditory Transduction’ to appreciative students at KNU.

“I was honoured to be asked, and very glad to help out with the program,” he said.

“It was genuinely humbling to see how hard the students and faculty have worked to maintain continuity of their program in the face of overwhelming adversity.

“I was impressed with how knowledgeable and engaged the students were – they asked insightful questions, and I hope they took away some useful information.

“I would love to be invited back in the future.”

For Associate Professor Tare, the opportunity to be able to contribute to teaching and research amidst a global conflict was extremely rewarding.

“Students and scientists in Ukraine are fiercely determined to continue with their education and scientific research at all costs,” she said.

“I am proud that as rurally-based academics, we have been able to make an impact from here in Churchill on young scientists in the war zone in Ukraine.”