8 things you didn’t know about Dr Milton Kiefel


Dr Milton Kiefel is a Research Leader at the Institute for Glycomics, Griffith University.

1. Milton aspired to become an astrophysicist

He grew up on a dairy farm in the Riverina (Southern NSW) and as a young boy aspired to be a farmer.  However, as a teen he developed a strong interest in astronomy and went to university with the view to becoming an astrophysicist.

2. He is passionate about learning and teaching

Milton designs and delivers chemistry courses to second and third year Bachelor of Science and Pharmacy students. ‘Teaching is challenging, but I get a lot of personal satisfaction from helping students learn and seeing the good ones reach their true potential’ said Milton.

3. Milton finds chemistry relaxing

He tries to get into the lab as much as possible.  ‘I love being in the lab doing chemistry, as it is an activity that gives me great pleasure – almost relaxing in a way’.

4. His research is sweet!

No, he doesn’t spend time in the lab eating donuts and cupcakes. Milton’s current research is directed towards understanding the role of sugars known to be directly associated with the virulence of certain human pathogenic bacteria. Milton said: ‘By understanding the role sugars play, we may be able to develop new drugs that could be effective against bacteria’.

5. He has a PhD in Natural Products Chemistry

He completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne in natural products chemistry. He then did a post-doc at the University of Nottingham (UK) with Professor Gerry Pattenden FRS, one of the world-leading chemistry researchers of his era (he is now retired).

6. Milton has been with the Institute for Glycomics since its inception

Milton was one of the founding members of what is now the Institute for Glycomics, and along with 5 Griffith colleagues was recently awarded his 15 years of service medal. In addition to being a member of Glcyomics, he is also a staff member of the School of Natural Sciences. 

7. A computer is the Apple of his eye

Milton said his Apple computer is imperative for his work as a lecturer. ‘Life as a lecturer would be quite challenging without a computer’, he said.  ‘I use technology to show students the three-dimensional shapes of molecules, especially drugs. This shows students the importance of the spatial arrangement of atoms, rather than just which atom is bonded to which.  Without technology, these concepts would be very hard to teach’ said Milton.

8. Milton finds Information Services to be an invaluable resource for academics and HDR students

Information Services recently ran sessions for Milton’s HDR students, and provided helpful information about the various workshops and training courses available. But Information Services is not just beneficial for his students. With Griffith Experts due to be released soon, Milton said he has had considerable help getting his Griffith Experts profile up and running. Information Services is ‘a great resource that we should all make better use of,’ he said.

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