Professor works hard to inspire 'deep questions'
Ever since he was a boy coming up with ideas for science fair projects, Michael Adams has been passionate about asking questions and finding answers. He admits, however, that he wasn’t always the most inspired student.
Though he’s now the head of the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Dr. Adams says he didn’t find his academic spark until he was a third-year student at Western University, taking courses in cardiovascular sciences, physiology and pharmacology that had creative lab opportunities. Dr. Adams recalls being challenged by one professor in particular.
“He gave us stuff on slides, concepts, diagrams, and told us to figure it out, to discover what it means. We had to look it up. I thought, ‘I can do this, I can figure this out,’ and it turned me on to cardiovascular sciences big time. It was the puzzle that worked for me.”
Dr. Adams went on to complete his graduate education at Western University and then spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, arriving at Queen’s as an assistant professor in 1988. He is widely known and respected for his work investigating the causes and consequences of cardiovascular and kidney disease, sexual dysfunction, and the development of new therapeutic strategies in prevention and treatment.
Since then, he’s also taught multi-disciplinary cardiovascular science courses in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in Life Sciences, Medicine, and Nursing. He has trained more than 30 graduate students and has twice been the recipient of the Faculty of Health Sciences Education Award.
But knowing how life-changing good teaching can be, Dr. Adams works hard to get his students to want to learn on their own and fill in their gaps in knowledge.
“If I can bring that out in students, and have them engaged and firing questions at me, that’s when I feel like I am winning. I love it if they have very cool, in-depth questions and I have to say I have no idea what the answer is. That has brought tears to my eyes because really, it’s not about the answers, but the deep questions.”