Position: Professor, university scientist and researcher, Developmental Neuroscience
Organisation: University of Otago
Dr Christine Jasoni is a senior lecturer in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago. She is also the principal investigator in the Centre for Neuroendocrinology and was the director of the Neuroscience Programme.
Christine’s research focuses on brain development, and she is particularly interested in understanding how maternal health can impact on the development of the foetal brain.
Any day or time that I go in to the lab to look at the results of an experiment, I have the potential to be seeing something that has never been seen before.
When Christine was younger, she wanted to be a vet. She loved animals and her family kept many pets and animals while she was growing up. Somewhere during her time at secondary school, Christine’s plans changed, she decided to become a computer scientist and began a degree in mathematics. It wasn’t until her second year at the University of California that Christine discovered biology and developed a passion for genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry. Her fascination with the brain and neuroscience began with her PhD research at the University of Washington into the formation of different cells in the retina.
In 2001 she moved to New Zealand, initially working in industry before returning to academic life at the University of Otago. Christine’s role at the university is split between lecturing in the Department of Anatomy and leading a neuroscience research lab. She really enjoys teaching because of the opportunity it gives her to show young people the wonders of science and the developing brain in particular. Christine is also passionate about research. She loves the elements of inquiry and discovery and the on-going possibility to see things that no-one else has seen before.
Over her time at at the University of Otago Christine has held a range of leadership roles and has won a number of awards for her teaching. Christine is also currently the director of the Brain Health Research Forum. Her passion to raise public awareness and understanding of scientific issues has seen her involved in the International Science Festival, Brain Awareness Week, Genetics Otago and Lab-in-a-box. In 2020 Christine was recognised for her efforts to improve public engagement with science and for championing better recognition and a voice for early career researchers – becoming a Companion of Royal Society Te Apārangi.
Christine has a number of interests outside of science. In her free time, she enjoys cycling, gardening, reading, cooking, playing and listening to music.
Find out more about Christine and here listen to her inaugural professorial lecture Every little thing she does is magic: How our mother’s health affects our own from October 2020.
This article is based on information current in 2011 and updated in 2020.