Skip to Content

Lazarus Group research

CollaborationsStudent research projects | Publications

About Associate Professor Michelle D. Lazarus

Known for her taglines (e.g. “Embryology Matters” and “Relationships matter, at least the anatomical ones”), Michelle is a passionate anatomy educator and education researcher. She believes that every learner has the capacity to grow and change, and her research focuses on exploring the most effective ways to support that growth. Hailing from the USA, she migrated to Australia in 2015 – becoming a citizen in the infamous year of 2020.  In addition to her role as lab head, she is also Deputy Head Education of the Anatomy and Developmental Biology Department and the Director of the Centre for Human Anatomy Education. A/Prof Lazarus serves as the Curriculum Integration Network lead for the Monash Centre for Scholarship in Health Education (MCSHE) and runs the podcast and twitter feed. When she isn’t working, you can find her enjoying the outdoors (running or walking with her dogs), baking (especially her sourdough ‘Rona Rhonda – started during the pandemic lockdowns) and crocheting.  In addition to her grant funding, Michelle is a Monash Education Academy fellow and the 2020 Deans’ Award Recipient for Excellence in Teaching.  She loves her job, and is incredibly grateful to work with such brilliant people, and to have so many mentors to aspire to.

Our research

Current projects

1. Exploring Uncertainty Tolerance in Medical Education and Biomedical Researchers

Uncertainty tolerance is a construct describing an individuals’ perception and response to an uncertainty stimuli. These stimuli can be anything in from unknowns and ambiguities to complexities to incongruencies in the context.  We study whether, and to what extent, our ability to respond to these uncertianty stimulus can be modifiable; and if so, what we can do in the classroom which helps foster (or hinder) learners’ uncertainty tolerance.

For more on how this can impact the learning environment, and related research please read our article in the Lens or our recent publications in the field.

2. Professional Identity formation in Medical Professionals

Medical students will need to transition from identifying as “students” towards identifying and healthcare professionals. We have projects focused on studying how we can foster students’ transitions between these identities through the teaching practices we engage in. One example is how we can help students develop an awareness of medical ethics through calculated exposure to human donor dissection and anatomy education.

3. Clinical Skill Development in Undergraduate Medical Students

Clinical competency requires adequate discpline knowledge and skill development. Some of our research projects focus on exploring how we can teach, through a balanced purposeful approach, both discpline knowledge AND skill competencies in a manner that is additative.  An example of this is our clinical anatomy peer handover which is integrated into anatomy teaching, but fosters a critical clinical skill. We also look at ways to enhance learners’ knowledge and application of medical imaging through our series of peer-reviewed medical imaging tutorials .

Visit Associate Professor Lazarus Monash research profile to see a full listing of current projects.

Research activities

Our research activities have a central focus on medical & clinical education research, but we also explore biomedical sciences.  The central theme across all current and ongoing research in our research group is the desire to improve our understanding of how to better prepare learners for both the present and their futures.  Much of our research focuses on transferable skills such as:  Uncertainty tolerance, Professional Identity Formation, and Clinical Skill development.


Qualitative Research (Framework and Content Analysis), PRISMA guidelines & Systematic reviews, Anatomy Education, Preclinical Education, Medical Education


We collaborate with many scientists and research organisations around the world. Some of our more significant national and international collaborators are listed below. Click on the map to see the details for each of these collaborators (dive into specific publications and outputs by clicking on the dots).

Student research projects

The Lazrus Research Group offers a variety of Honours, Masters and PhD projects for students interested in joining our group. There are also a number of short term research opportunities available.

Please visit Supervisor Connect to explore the projects currently available in our Lab.