Kathy is an experienced health researcher, with 24 years of experience teaching human physiology and pathophysiology into biomedical sciences and allied health undergraduate courses at VU. She has been instrumental in the implementation of the Block Model in VU’s First Year College.

Kathy has held various leadership positions within VU, including Head of Discipline (Medical Physiology), First Year Experience Champion (College of Health and Biomedicine), Course leader (Biomedical Sciences; Biomedicine) and Academic Coordinator (Teaching and Learning) in the School of Biomedical and Health Sciences. At present, Kathy is Deputy Head of Scholarship and Professional Learning in the First Year College.

Since 2009, Kathy has systematically applied for and been awarded five VU learning and teaching (L&T) research grants as principal investigator, totalling $133,250. She has also been a component leader on an Office of Learning and Teaching grant awarded in 2012 for $220,000 for a ‘Professional development program to embed inclusive and explicit teaching practices in HE first year units’.

Kathy’s L&T research projects have focused on identifying the specific learning needs of diverse student cohorts, including from various equity groups, and designing customised active learning and collaborative approaches which are embedded into the curriculum. The primary aim of her work is improving social integration, student learning and engagement - all fundamental to a positive first year experience and implications for long term student retention and success. The findings of these projects have been disseminated at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed educational journals.

In addition to receiving five university awards for ‘Excellence in Learning and Teaching’, in 2016 Kathy was awarded two prestigious national awards – the Michael Roberts Medal for Excellence in Physiology Education from the Australian Physiological Society and an Australian Award for University Teaching - in recognition of her sustained and outstanding contributions to student learning and the overall student experience for diverse commencing student cohorts at VU.  


Areas of expertise

  • First year experience
  • Student learning and engagement in physiology education
  • Professional development programs
  • Assessment

Contact details

+61 (3) 9919 2618

Research grants

  • VU Grant (2015) – Tangalakis K, Su, X and Sinnayah, P. Improving the progression and retention of first year students in health-related courses, using flipped and poly-synchronous learning strategies. $25,000
  • Office of Learning & Teaching (2012)- Hughes, K (CI), Brown, C (CI), Slee (CI), Cuseo, Goldspin, Ward, Donohue, Tangalakis K, Zammit, Taylor, Ridley, Dickson Professional development program to embed inclusive and explicit teaching practices in HE first year units, $220,000
  • VU Grant (2011) – Tangalakis K. Evaluation of the student laboratory learning experience in the Biomedical sciences degree program. $25,000
  • VU Grant (2010) – Tangalakis K and Kamphuis K. Addressing the transition of students within the Biomedical Sciences course. $26,150
  • VU Grant (2010) – Tangalakis K, Skelly D and Best G. Implement and evaluate Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) as a strategy to improve student knowledge in Bioscience and facilitate transition and student retention in the School of Biomedical and Health Sciences health-related courses. $31,185


Refereed journal articles in Learning and Teaching

  • Tangalakis, K., Best, G. and Hryciw, D.H. (2017) Peer Assisted Study Sessions for the Development of Transferable Skills in Undergraduate Students from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 25 (3), 36-44.
  • Tangalakis, K., Hughes, K., Brown, C. and Dickson. K. (2014) “The use of Explicit Teaching Strategies for Academic Staff and Students in Bioscience Foundation Subjects.” International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 22(3): 42-51\
  • Burder, R., Tangalakis, K. and Hryciw, D. (2014) “Use of Content based Instruction and Socratic Discussion for ESL Undergraduate Biomedical science students to Develop Critical Thinking Skills”. Journal of Curriculum & Teaching, 3(1) URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/jct.v3n1p
  • Hryciw, D., Tangalakis, K, Supple, B. and Best, G. (2013) “Evaluation of a peer-mentoring program for a mature cohort of first year undergraduate paramedic students”. Advances in Physiology Education. 37 (1):80-4.

Refereed journal articles in Discipline Research

  • Pudkasam, S., Tangalakis, K, Chinlumprasert, N., Apostolopoulos, V. and Stojanovska, L. (2017). Breast cancer and exercise: the role of adiposity and immune markers. Maturitus  DOI:10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.04.022

  • Prakash, M.D., Tangalakis, K., Antonipillai, J., Stojanovska, L., Nurgali, K. & Apostolopoulos, V.  (2017). “Methamphetamine: Effects on the brain, gut and immune system.” Pharmacological Research, 120: 60-67.

  • Mikkelsen K., Stojanovska, L., Tangalakis, K., Bosevski, M. and Apostolopoulos, V. (2016). “Cognitive decline: A vitamin B perspective.” Maturitas . 93: 108-113.

  • Honisett, S. Y., Tangalakis, K., Wark, J., Apostolopoulos, V. and Stojanovska, L. (2016) “The effects of hormonal therapy and exercise on bone turnover in postmenopausal women: A randomised double-blind pilot study”. Prilozi 37(2-3):23-32. doi: 10.1515/prilozi-2016-0013.

  • Apostolopoulos,V., de Courten, M.P.J, Stojanovska, L., Blatch, G.L., Tangalakis, K and de Courten B. (2015). “The complex immunological and inflammatory network of adipose tissue in obesity.” Mol. Nutr. Food Res, 60 (1), 43-57.

Learning and Teaching conference presentations

  • Tangalakis, K. and Howe, S. (2018) Revolutionising first year: an innovative block model to improve student engagement and success. Australian Physiological Society, University of Sydney.

  • Tangalakis, K. and Howe, S. (2018) Revolutionising the First year in Block Mode. Australian Conference in Science & Mathematics Education, Flinders University.

  • Tangalakis, K. (2017) Michael Roberts Keynote Lecture, Australian Physiological Society, Monash University.

  • Tangalakis, K., MacKinnon P. and Macaulay, J. (2016) Workshop: Building the capacity of academics to assess higher order skills through improved assessment design. Australian Conference in Science & Mathematics Education, Brisbane

  • Tangalakis, K., Rybalka, E., Hayes, A., Hammill, J., Hryciw, DH. (2016) Student Supported Peer Learning: Peer mentoring programs in different contexts. ComBio, Brisbane.

  • Tangalakis, K., Macaulay, J., McKinnon, P. (2013) Use and assessment of the biomed Threshold Learning Outcomes. Collaborative Universities Biomedical Education Conference, Canberra.

  • Brown, C., Tangalakis, K. and Hughes, K. (2013)  Engaged Teaching For Engaging Students: Explicit, Inclusive, AVID. International FYHE conference, New Zealand.

Professional memberships

  • Australian Physiological Society

  • American Physiological Society