Lachlan Tegart

Lachlan Tegart

Sneezing Scientist

PhD Candidate, Medical Research (Aerobiology)
Menzies Institute for Medical Research,
University of Tasmania

Young Tassie Scientists 2019, 2020, 2021

Have you ever been looking at a pretty flower and then you sneezed? Or run through a grass field and your eyes got itchy? This isn’t because plants are dangerous or trying to hurt us, it is just a case of mistaken identity. Your body’s defence system sometimes mistakes the pollen as a threat and tells your body to sneeze them out! This is called ‘hay fever’ and I am trying to work out which plants cause it. In particular, I am trying to work out which Tasmanian plants might be responsible.

I realised I wanted to be a scientist when I was in high school in country Victoria. I was fascinated by the things around us that could make us feel sick, whether it was beautiful flowers, weird mushrooms or my grandpa’s cat. At uni I started learning about bacteria and viruses and the cool ways our body reacts to these invaders. Then I decided I wanted to study hay fever and pollen. I had the opportunity to take my research to Tassie last year and I rushed over on the Spirit of Tasmania. I love it here!

In my spare time I like to explore and do photography – but when it is cold I like to sit at home and watch MasterChef. Studying science has led to me working in the forest and the lab and I have done some cool things like growing bacteria on jelly, discovering new species of mushroom, and breeding sea monkeys. Science is the coolest!

Follow Lachlan on Twitter: @lachlantegart 

Watch Lachlan’s videos below!

Introducing Lachlan Tegart: (suitable for all ages)

A day in the life of a Medical Researcher: (suitable for all ages)

Wattle Pollen and Hay Fever: