My goal is to reach everyone in the School, we have such a diversity of ideas, abilities, and backgrounds, and we can't share this enough. But, in some areas we can do more to make things better, and our committee working groups are now looking at how we can do this.Dr Andrew Melbourne, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Technologies, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences
27 November 2023
In Conversation with Dr Andrew Melbourne
Dr Andrew Melbourne talks to us about his research, his students, and his new appointment as School Lead of the Development, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
“The pandemic disrupted the traditional barriers between work and home life, but this is giving us new opportunities to make our workplace as fair, inclusive, and equitable as possible, in ways that weren't available a few years ago,” Andrew tells us. He is making it a priority of the committee to help this rebuilding.
Andrew has been with the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences for around five years. In this time he has led the MSc in Healthcare Technologies programme which has grown substantially in both student numbers and number of modules taught.
The latest milestone was receiving IET accreditation, meaning that students can use their MSc to become chartered engineers. “We've had some incredible students pass through our programme and every year there is an exciting new cohort to work with,” Andrew says.
Alongside his teaching, Andrew is passionate about his research in pregnancy, especially looking at the role of the placenta. “The placenta is perhaps the most interesting organ ever to have evolved and is unique in its diversity across species,” he tells us.
Andrew recently received funding to explore the placenta's role in more detail and look at how the organ transfers oxygen from the mother to the fetus and how this affects fetal growth.
“Placental research is just scratching the surface of this incredibly complicated organ. There is so much new to learn, whatever we find out may one day help somebody with their pregnancy.”
Andrew has also been a member of the School’s Development Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) committee for several years. During his time on this committee, he has noticed a change in work-life environments, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our School survey data suggests that the increase in flexible working and use of online meetings has given us opportunities to improve our work-life balance, but it’s important to make sure that these advantages apply to everyone," he says.
When the position of DDI committee lead came up, Andrew felt it was a great opportunity to support members of the School through these changes.
Andrew says, “we have some really fantastic people in our School and we need to make this as visible as possible both to ourselves and to those who look to King's for study and for employment.”