A love of science and infectious diseases

Director of Microbiology, Marcel Leroi, was drawn to his profession because of his love of science and the variety it provides.

"The reason I did microbiology was that I was exposed to infectious diseases," he says.

"Infectious diseases is my first love - they can affect any organ system and they're not dominated by one process.

"We can actually cure the patient though and resolve the problem, which was very appealing to me."

Dr Leroi has been a doctor for 29 years and came from NSW to work at the Austin in 2015 as a clinical microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Physician.  

"We diagnose infectious diseases and screen people for resistant micro-organisms," he says.

"Our focus is to rapidly and accurately diagnose infection."

His work also involves a great deal of administration and reporting which requires strong analytical and interpretative skills.

"We report on a whole range of different levels but it can be a very grey area - to make sense of the results you need clinical input. 

"There's a lot of interaction with key clinical staff, infection control and microbiology staff to interpret and communicate the results."

Dr Leroi says interpretating the results quickly and acting on them can affect patient outcomes. 

The advancement of technology and lab equipment also helps - in particular the Kiestra and MALDI TOF machinery - which streamline the testing process, increase efficiency and produce timely and reliable results.

"This equipment decreases the amount of repetitive manual tasks that used to be common in the laboratory," Dr Leroi says.

"It gives staff greater satisfaction and opportunity to improve the quality of the service.

"Looking at national and international benchmarks, Austin Microbiology performs well."

Dr Leroi says while he works in a complex environment which is often stressful, having a happy and productive team is important.

"An important part of the job is looking after the team. I do a lot of mentoring of both medical and scientific staff. I find this both challenging and satisfying," he says.