DR Michelle Rank

DR Michelle Rank


  • Improvement of motor recovery after adult stroke, neonatal stroke and spinal cord injury. Development of digital resources for clinical education. (Patch clamp electrophysiology, spinal cord injury, synaptic plasticity, stroke)



  • Research Interests
    My research program investigates the mechanisms of spontaneous and intervention mediated rehabilitation in pre-clinical models of neonatal ischemic stroke/cerebral palsy, adult cortical ischemic stroke, and spinal cord injury (SCI). My translational research program directly address two of the most challenging problems in stroke and neurological disease research: how do we prevent widespread neuronal cell death immediately after a stroke or spinal cord injury and how do we promote functional rewiring in surviving neural networks to yield the greatest possible functional recovery for patients?
    Techniques: My research makes use of cutting-edge molecular (RNA-Seq, q-PCR), anatomical (immunohistochemical, histological), functional (whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology) and pharmacological (novel venom peptides) approaches with a strong focus on translational capacity.

    Teaching Interests
    I have a strong track record of teaching excellence in the areas of human anatomy with specialist expertise in neuroanatomy and musculoskeletal anatomy. I am committed to pursuing excellence in anatomy teaching through educational leadership and development of novel digital teaching and assessment resources. I am especially passionate about technology driven teaching for large (600+) cohorts of students. My teaching practice uses novel and engaging techniques, including digital anatomy resources such as virtual and augmented reality, and 3D anatomy apps to enhance student learning and increase engagement. I am committed to excellence in anatomy teaching and providing an innovative and technology driven learning experience for all students.



Member of

  • American Association of Anatomists. Member 2015 -
  • Anatomical Society of Australia and New Zealand. Member 2015 -
  • Australasian Neuroscience Society. Member 2011 -
  • Society for Neuroscience. Member 2002 -


Selected publications


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Alberta 2011
  • BSc Hons, Brock University 2005

Awards and honors

  • Faculty Engagement Award, RMIT University, 2018
  • Deputy Vice Chancellor Award for Best ECR Researcher, University of Newcastle, 2014
  • Sensory Neuroscience Prize for Outstanding New Research, Western Sydney University, 2014
  • Award for Excellence in Medical Research by an ECR, NSW Office for Health and Medical Research, 2014



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am available to supervise undergraduate and graduate researchers interested in:

    • Neuronal recovery after stroke and spinal cord injury
    • Efficacy of novel venom peptides in reducing tissue damage after stroke and spinal cord injury

    Anatomy education
    • Novel digital assessment techniques for anatomical education
    • Development of virtual reality and augmented reality resources for undergraduate and postgraduate clinical anatomical education