Mollie Holman remembered
Physiologist Mollie Holman began her Monash career in 1963. Her enormous contribution to her field led to her appointment to a personal chair in physiology in 1970, a position she held until retirement. Her pioneering research investigated networks of nerve cells involved in regulating autonomous functions such as digestion and blood pressure.
Born in Launceston, Mollie Holman’s academic parents encouraged her intellectual abilities and interests, particularly in the male-dominated field of physics. After completing an MSc at Melbourne, she went on to complete her doctoral study at Oxford, where her pioneering research on electrical activity in smooth muscle won international attention. Returning to Melbourne in 1963 to take up a post at the new Monash University, she became a magnet for young researchers. She was an outstanding supervisor and mentor, particularly for her female students. In 1970, she became one of only a handful of women to be elected to the Australian Academy of Science. In recognition of Holman’s dedication to young researchers and her own research excellence, Monash established the Mollie Holman Medal in 1998. The medal is awarded to the top doctoral students across the university every year.