Medical Science

Dr Andrea Crampton

B.Sc. (hons 1) Department of Parasitology, University of Queensland, 1994
Ph.D. Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Queensland, 1999

Senior Lecturer in Microbiology
Wagga Wagga
Building 288 Room 253

Research-led teaching meets teaching-led research:

Andrea Crampton joins RealScientists

New York, New York: so good they named it twice. Exactly like Wagga Wagga. Or Wagga, to its friends.
Wagga is the home- or one of, to be fair - of Australia's biggest inland university, Charles Sturt University.
It's also the home of molecular parasitologist and education researcher Dr Andrea Crampton of CSU's Institute of Land, Water and Society and School of Biomedical Sciences.

Andrea, rather self-deprecatingly, says she got into science because of "natural curiosity" and no creative 'talent', but she's certainly taken a creative path to where she now is. After completing her BSc in 1994 (working on the phylogeny, or evolutionary relationships, of cattle tick species for her Honours, which she scored a First), Andrea completed her PhD on the genetic basis of pesticide resistance in ticks in 1999, both at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. She then took up a postdoctoral position at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Whilst in the USA, she worked on a US Army funded project exploring the genetic basis of the Anopheles mosquito's immune response to plasmodium infection.
This work demonstrated that the genes involved in the mosquitoes' response to infection are related to the genes involved in the human hosts' response to the parasite. After 3 years in the US Andrea returned to Australia to take up a postdoctoral position at the CRC for Diagnostics at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.  This resulted in a career switch into chasing humans rather than mosquitoes, on a project seeking to identify SNPs related to human facial characteristics for future forensic uses. Finding humans fairly easy to catch and rather too easily domesticated she moved on to the University of New England in Armidale, NSW where she was given the opportunity to chase sheep as part of an Australian Wool Innovation project on integrated parasite management. The fieldwork component of this project was much more to Andrea's liking, getting her out of the lab and working directly with the end users of the research, i.e. the primary producers. Then it was on to CSU in Wagga, a return home in a lot of ways - Andrea was born in Tumbarumba, less than two hours drive from her Wagga office (as a fellow country NSW kid, I can confirm that anywhere under two hours away is considered just down the road) and is for the first time in her career close to her family roots.

Within the Institute of Land, Water and Society Andrea is working in water research, again enjoying the contact with end users, in this case consumers of tank water. She is also teaching microbiology and forensic based subjects in several courses. In a broad sense her work is in two strands - 'wet' research stemming from her background as a parasitologist; and 'dry' research based on her interest in science education. Fittingly, her  'wet' research is literally that:

Health/Science/ Sustainability literacy My interest in this research foci stems from my own attempts to explain my research to my own non-university educated family.  In this situation literacy refers to an individuals capacity to not just understand the information but to be able to use the information in a critical manner relative to their own context e.g. understand that woodsmoke is a form of pollution is one level with the next being an understanding that their wood fireplace is contributing to the local particle pollution that is negatively affecting their health and that of their neighbours and then finally the decision to change heating sources and telling others about the issue.  The same concepts can be applied to issue related to diet (how to makes sense of competing information), health advice (how much sun to get the balance of vitamin D and not increase sun cancer risk) and act more sustainably (e.g. travel options, land management options).  A population that can understand the research and health information is a society that can take an active role in creating a better society.

Effective use of technology to support teaching: Andrea describes her focus in this area as a reflective analysis of online teaching environments following the addition of various teaching tools and strategies.
She has a strong interest in the application of effective technologies in teaching science, and in analysis of students' use of resources and academics time. The analyses explore the benefits and pitfalls to students, academics and institutions alike. Andrea won the International Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award in 2009, an international award based on the effective use of technology to achieve a sound pedagogical goal.

In simple terms, why does Andrea love doing what she does?

I get to facilitate the development of great educators and program's and help bring in best practices from the HE sector of CSU. I was first a traditional bench scientist who taught but as a researcher I was drawn to investigate the most effective teaching styles, particularly online and thus became a scholar of learning and teaching. Thus my research moved from molecular parasitologist to learning and teaching including a community aspect around health literacy, i.e how the general community integrates health related scientific information. There are days I miss chasing sheep or collecting mosquitoes but I get to work with a great deal of people at my home university as well as across the country.

Article from RealScientists 8 July 2013


Teaching philosophy

The development of my teaching philosophy and its implementation draws heavily on my past as a research academic and laboratory manager. I approach each teaching opportunity as if it were an item to be investigated with the aim of developing methodologies that are effective and represent best practice. I also acknowledge the human elements such as apprehension, motivation and anxiety and look for ways to manager these in the most constructive and sensitive manner possible. In its simplest form, my philosophy could be stated as "I teach my students". However, behind that statement lays a large element of research into "who" my students are (changes relative to cohort and subject) how who they are affects how they learn (many prefer a collaborative based environment with some control over the education process) and thus which strategies are the most effective (primarily those that provide flexibility and multiple means of interacting with content) for developing environments conducive to their education. Like any research project I constantly refine my methods in light of new experience, research, interactions with others and feedback from key stakeholders, in this case primarily students. In relation to the teaching approaches cited in the literature my approaches are primarily constructionists based unless the unique nature of the subject or student body indicate other approaches would be more suitable.

Teaching awards

Winner of 2009 Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award.

This was an international award based on the effective use of technology to achieve a sound pedagogical goal. This award was in relation to my teaching of FSC200.

I currently enjoy teaching across a range of subjects and year levels.  I am known to regale novice microbiologist with tales of disease and scientific mayhem and reasons to perhaps not eat meat.  I strive to foster curiosity and critical thinking beyond the confines of the topic to include the application of the knowledge to broader society.

I am honoured to have the opportunity it's to work with a myriad of busy dedicated professionals who work to juggle demanding careers with a Masters degree.  This produces a rich environment for consideration of health related research across a broad range of topics and methods.

Specifically you will find me in:






And on occasion



Postgraduate supervision interests

I am happy to supervise projects across a range of topics and methods. Students interested in lab based projects would already need to have access to a lab or adequate funding for resources and consumables.  I currently supervise both lab and non lab based projects being conducted both in Australia and other countries.

My particular areas of interest for future projects include :

*drinking water


*molecular diagnostics

*scientific literacy (including health, sustainability, environmental and education)

*STEM education in higher ED (both practice and policy)

*online learning

*air quality

*animals in science


Having been a bench scientist and an education researcher I have develop an interest in the space in between, namely scientific literacy.  This encompasses investigations into what scientific information people know/understand (or don't) and how does (or does not)  that influence their actions.  The information generated from this research is designed to inform those that are formally involved in public education (including health authorities and government bodies) as well as fellow scientist with the goal of improving the general accessibility of scientific knowledge and debates.

Two current areas of research are:

  1. - Enhancing sustainability literacy
  2. -   Effective online learning

I have 2 key areas of research

Analysis of independently managed drinking water

This research foci is in a growth phase following on from a pilot project conducted in 2009. My interest is in relation to both issues of contamination (54% of tanks tested had levels of E. coli above those that would be deemed acceptable in water supplied by governments or other central suppliers in Australia) and that of social awareness (what do the consumers know and what are their concerns). This research was supported by a 2009 research fellowship from the Institute of Land Water and Society at CSU and continues to be supported by the institute. The project has also attracted external collaborators from the NSW department of Health and Queensland University of Technology.

Effective use of technology to support teaching

I have several projects falling under this umbrella in various stages of completion. This focus is a reflective analysis of online teaching environments following the addition of various teaching tools and strategies. The analyses explore the benefits and pitfalls to students, academics and institutions alike. My aim is to not only analyse my own teaching activities but also provide others with a rigorous appraisal of the effectiveness of online teaching tools across various applications; such as both internal and distance education.

Research Grants:

2013 - OLT Seed: Crampton, A., Ragusa, A.T. & Cavanagh, H. Exploring the role of technology in fostering sense of belonging in students studying by distance. $50,000

2011 - 2013 - ALTC Leadership for Excellence Program: Sharma, M., Rifkin, W., Beames, S., Johnson, E., Varsavsky,C., Crampton, A., Zadnik, M., Jones. S., Yates, B. 2011. 'Fostering institutional and cultural change through the Australian network of university science educators'. $216,000

2011 - 2013 - Arts Faculty Research Development Grant: Ragusa, A.T. & Crampton, A. 2011. Assessing communication strategies and experiences of social isolation amongst distance education students. $4,890

2009 - ILWS Research Fellow Session 2. $40,000

2008 - Faculty of Science - Seed Grant - Investigating drinking water quality available to rural Australians in NSW not connected to regulated water. $5,920


Associate Editor - Journal of Rural Society Occasional Special Edition Editor - International Journal of innovation in Science and Maths Education

For Andrea's most up to date list of publications please Click here

Recent Publications include:

Ragusa, A.T. & Crampton, A. (2019).  Doctor Google, Health Literacy, and Individual Behavior: A Study of University Employees’ Knowledge of Health Guidelines and Normative Practices. American Journal of Health Education, 50 (3), 176-189.

Hand, M., Crampton, A., Thomas, A. & Kilpatrick, E. S. (2019). A survey of clinical laboratory instrument verification in the UK and New Zealand, 56 (2), 275-282.

Ragusa, A.T. & Crampton, A. (2019). Alternative Transportation Enterprises for Rural Australia: An Organizational Study of Greener Options and Use. International Journal of Rural Management, IN PRESS

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