Connected Conversations | Bailey Deverell
PhD student, Bailey Deverell, always knew a path in health was for him. But he never thought he’d fall in love with teaching. The perfect combination of doing the research he loves, and organising and planning (with a beloved stationery collection), Bailey strives to share his passion with his students. Between time in the lab and time in the classroom, Bailey also loves to get out and about hanging out with friends, playing sport, gaming, and taking his Border Collie puppy to the beach.
Please tell us and a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Bailey. I’m currently a PhD student at the University of Adelaide. I graduated in 2020 from my Honours Degree in Health and Medical Sciences with First Class Honours and decided to jump straight back in to continue my research into bone health and chemotherapy. I also do some laboratory demonstrating and the occasional tutorial within a couple of courses in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. I hope to one day venture further into the education space in anatomy and pathology.
What was your first area of study and what drew you to this space?
I grew up playing a lot of sport (mainly football and basketball) and, of course, experienced a handful of injuries doing so! Because of this, I was always interested in the processes of musculoskeletal anatomy and really enjoyed learning the basics in high school. Coupling this with a love of science — anything from high school biology and chemistry, to kids’ science experiments when I was younger — I knew that I wanted to pursue something in the medical field, but never felt that I’d wanted to become a medical doctor. This led me on a pretty well-defined path into health and medical sciences, where I felt that it was open-ended enough to explore my options while still pursuing what I had imagined would be my ideal job in the future.
What has been your journey to get where you are today?
I didn’t really have many deviations. I started with a Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences (Advanced). I then continued with an honours year in the bone and joint field and eventually landed where I am now — in the same lab as a PhD candidate. I was really inspired by some of my lecturers during my undergraduate studies and this led me to shift focus a little towards a teaching role in academia, coupled with the research that I had always intended on.
What are you working on now?
My research now is looking into the effects of chemotherapy on bone remodelling in the context of cancer. I love that my cross-disciplinary research can touch on multiple fields. It’s not only really fun learning about such a wide range of concepts, but also extremely interesting being in a field that not many people tend to focus their research on. My favourite aspect is definitely getting the opportunity to work with the micro-CT to get some really high-resolution scans of bone to really visualise the impact of what I’m researching. I hope to really shed light on how important it is to be educated about the long-term effects of chemotherapy so that everyone can better understand what we can do to make people’s lives better after chemotherapy, rather than focusing on just existing post-chemotherapy procedures. It’s really all about wanting to improve the quality of life for those who have been in unfortunate positions.
What do you love most about the University of Adelaide?
I love that the University of Adelaide provides such a wide range of experiences throughout the undergraduate experience. In particular, being able to take on a research placement during my third year of my bachelor’s degree. I was able to finally get a better idea of what the job I was working so hard towards was really all about. This included everything from lab experience to writing reports and presenting the research I had conducted at the end. This experience really helped set me up well for where I am today. You also can’t deny how convenient of a location the main campus is! Being able to head to Rundle Mall for a bite to eat, or a bit of shopping after I’m done for the day is great.
How do you think the University of Adelaide has helped prepare you for your future career?
The University of Adelaide has provided me with so many great opportunities to get out and network with other spaces in the health and research industry, such as a close bond with SAHMRI research groups. This networking will set me up with lifelong connections to people in the field who I can collaborate with in the future. Also, being able to teach into undergraduate human anatomy and physiology courses has been an incredible experience and it’s something I wish to continue doing beyond my PhD.
What opportunities do you see for the future?
In the coming future, I’m excited to continue my research in the bone field and learn more about the toxicities side of things. I also can’t wait to get more experience presenting my work at more conferences and connecting with like-minded researchers. Most of all, I look forward to more teaching opportunities and helping to innovate the teaching pedagogy of anatomy, particularly as we move to a more digital space in the way things are being taught. Though, I won’t deny that being able to get those hands-on experiences with health science will always be something I love and find extremely fascinating.
What inspired you to pursue a career in health?
A career in health has always been really the only thing I’ve envisioned since taking biology classes for the first time in high school. I think the idea of having something different to do every day is exciting and keeps things feeling fresh. One day, I can be at my desk doing background research or writing up research. The next, I’m in the lab working on an experiment. And, every so often, I’m presenting at a conference or teaching! Being able to have an impact on people’s lives (hopefully a positive one!) either directly through teaching or indirectly through my research is also a really rewarding feeling.
Have you ever had a life-changing experience?
I can’t be too sure if they’ve been life-changing experiences because I don’t know if I still would’ve ended up where I am now anyway! But, a few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to America to play basketball with my high school, where I stayed with some incredible host families and even got to experience what a couple of days of school were like over there. That was my first time overseas, so it was really exciting being able to experience another country and adjusting to a new place with people I barely knew. More recently, not so life-changing but definitely impactful, I went skydiving with my family! This was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone if they get the opportunity. Although, I definitely found myself still being more nervous for my upcoming presentation at the University than falling out of a plane somehow!
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’d like to think I enjoy a wide range of activities. I love going out with friends— to the beach, out for dinner or drinks, or even just hanging out and watching movies or TV. I also enjoy gaming (if you can call it that). I love Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing, and The Sims (pretty much anything where I can collect or organise things). Other than that, I also like listening to music (I love some good Dua Lipa, classic Black Eyed Peas, or some 80’s music) or exercising with a good hike with friends or the family pup, Jax — a very handsome red and white Border Collie. Something a bit more unusual is that I enjoy taking notes, although I don’t really have as much need to be doing that so much anymore, I am a bit of a stationery hoarder! I used to run a small blog where I documented some of my notes that I took along my undergraduate journey.
What are your top café/restaurant recommendations around Adelaide?
I’m definitely more of a pub meal schnitty kind of guy so I don’t go to many other places often, but I absolutely love The Bombay Bicycle Club Indian Restaurant— I could go for a good chicken curry any day of the week! Other than that, I also enjoy Bangkok Boulevard, Danny’s Thai Bistro, and Betty’s Burgers.
What’s your dream job?
You may have gathered by now that I really enjoy teaching anatomy! Getting to see people experience and learn about anatomy is really fun, especially when you find that way to explain something and really see them ‘click’ and have that lightbulb moment. It’s the perfect combination of using my skills as a researcher (which I hope to continue on the side, as many of the teaching staff at the University of Adelaide do) and my enjoyment of organising and explaining things. I hope that I’m on the right track towards this by getting into casual teaching during my PhD. I would like to do more and more each year, while also building those connections to the amazing academics we already have at the University!