Dr Carla Evangelista in her Palmwoods garden with her baby daughter.
Dr Carla Evangelista in her Palmwoods garden with her baby daughter.

Research buzz for new hinterland doctor

Montville’s latest medical gain in newly-arrived general practitioner Carla Evangelista is bringing with her knowledge gleaned from her former research field of robotics inspired by honeybees.

Dr Evangelista, who has settled into the Ochre Medical Centre at Montville, first set out to become a marine biologist, which led her into cutting edge research in a biorobotics lab.

Dr Carla Evangelista.
Dr Carla Evangelista.

“We used the honeybee as (a) model for autonomous flying aircraft,” she said.

“I worked with the honeybees, looking at the systems they used to regulate speed, avoid collisions and control landing.

“All of that is pretty much automated for a honeybee.”

Her research team filmed bees landing on surfaces ranging from 0 degrees to 180 degrees as she undertook the painstaking task of manually analysing the bees landing strategies, which were then converted into algorithms.

Another of her experiments saw her team successfully train bees to find their way through a maze composed of four interconnected tunnels using light sources.

Dr Carla Evangelista during her research days studying bee flights.
Dr Carla Evangelista during her research days studying bee flights.

“This seems a long way from medicine, but it was actually a good background for understanding how biomechanical systems like the body work, and for diagnosing problems with them,” she said.

After working GP stints at Noosa and Maroochydore, the Palmwoods-based Dr Evangelista said the hinterland was a perfect work-life fit for herself plus her husband and eight-month-old baby daughter.

“We’ve got a veggie garden with a ton of kale and cauliflower at the moment. The gardening does take time, but it’s therapeutic as well,” Dr Evangelista said.

Originally from Brisbane, Dr Evangelista completed her medical studies in Geelong, before moving to Sunshine Coast to work in the local hopsital system.