Professor Mike Calford graduated with a Ph.D. in physiology from Monash University in 1982 before holding several postdoctoral appointments at the University of Melbourne, City University of New York, and Oxford.
In 1984 he received a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship at the University of Queensland working with the newly appointed Chair of Physiology – Jack Pettigrew.
Professor Calford’s career in research began looking at the sensory representations with a particular interest in adaptations of Australian endemic animals, a topic which has remained a life-long interest. Subsequently, he set up a laboratory examining the cellular and physiological basis of the brain’s response to trauma in animal models.
Professor Calford was successful in obtaining major funding from the Australian Research Council (including a centre of excellence) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (including a program grant and a principal research fellowship). He counts as a major achievement his 28 years of continuous NHMRC funding, before giving way and fully joining the “dark-side” of research through university administration in 2012.
Professor Calford has had a long interest in research ethics and standards and has chaired the Animal Welfare Committee of the NHMRC, the Universities Australia Pro and Deputy Vice-Chancellors Research Committee, and the 2018 revision of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Professor Calford moved from the Australian National University (ANU) to the University of Newcastle in 2000 as Chair of Physiology. He points to the excellent relationships between clinicians in Hunter New England Health and the academic staff of the University as the main motivation for his move. These relationships led to the formation of HMRI and Mike joined the Board of HMRI in his role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health) in 2006 and then as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) until he left Newcastle in early 2013.
After appointments as Provost at the University of Tasmania and the ANU, Mike briefly retired in February 2020 with plans to spend some quality time sorting through the thousands of research slides he has kept in his garage in case he missed something. Unfortunately, the slides will have to wait as the opportunity to come back to HMRI as Director presented too good an opportunity to pass up.
Professor Calford also holds the position of Chair of Intersect Ltd and is an advisor to the Australian Education Management Group, and to Wells Advisory.
Professor Calford has a deep connection to HMRI, the work that it supports, and its great value proposition of linking two excellent institutions, the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health through the support of the Hunter community.