15 May 2021

Dr Matt Baker: beats, bouts and bacterial biophysics

From Saturday Morning, 10:05 am on 15 May 2021

Sydney-based New Zealander Dr Matt Baker is quite the renaissance man.

He has a doctorate from Oxford, where he studied Bacterial Flagellar Motor, a nanoscale rotary electric motor which makes bacteria swim.

Currently Scientia Research Fellow in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales. He recently received a prestigious $1.8m international grant to study the origins of movement in bacteria and its application to present-day biology.

A love of bass and dancehall music led Matt to stints MCing, DJing, freestyle rapping, and evolved into performing slam poetry about the science of food poisoning from a "Dirty Doner" kebab. He also produced a feature documentary about dancehall recorded on location in Kingston, Jamaica.

And if that's not enough, the father of two young children is also a champion épée fencer. Kim speaks to Dr Baker from his quarantine hotel in Sydney, where he's been spending time after trip to Uzbekistan to compete in an Olympics qualifying tournament.

Dr Matt Baker

Dr Matt Baker Photo: supplied / Steven Makari, UNSW Sydney