Graduate Research School Research Excellence Dean's Award for Excellence 2021

Dean's Award for Excellence 2021

Thesis Title: Ageing in place in rural Australia

Abstract: Dr Anderson investigated the challenges of ageing in place in three towns in rural Queensland. She found that, both practical and emotional support for ageing was provided by both kin and non-kin. However when health decline occurred family was still considered the main source of support.

Advisory Panel: Dr Robin Ray and Professor Sarah Larkins

Thesis Title: Sounding the reef: comparative acoustemologies of underwater noise pollution

Abstract: Dr Buttacavoli studied the development and detection of the category of underwater noise pollution in the Great Barrier Reef. He examined the phenomenon using a multi-species ethnographic approach. He found that bodily affordances and species’ boundaries that make sensing underwater noise difficult, can be overcome through technology and skilled practice.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Jennifer Deger and Professor Theodorus Otto

Thesis Title: Molecular profiling of immunity to infectious diseases using human challenge models

Abstract: Dr Cooper studied immunity to parasites in humans. She defined molecular immune responses to the parasites that cause malaria and hookworm infection. This is valuable for the rational development of vaccines effective against these major parasites

Advisory Panel: Professor Denise Doolan, Dr Paul Giacomin, Dr Matt Field, Dr Claire Loiseau and Dr Ashley Van Waardenberg

Thesis Title: Quantifying the Physical, Technical and Tactical Qualities Discriminant of Development Level in the Queensland Rugby League Talent Pathway

Abstract: Dr Grier Pearce studied the performance characteristics of Queensland Rugby League players within the talent development pathway. Significant differences were identified between the combined Under-18/Under-20 players, and those in the open-age level. Queensland Rugby League will use this evidence to support their talent development pathway and enhance young athlete transition.

Advisory Panel: Dr Carl Woods, Mr Wade Sinclair, Associate Professor Anthony Leicht

Thesis Title: Maximising potential impact of Marine Protected Area placement: An integrated socioeconomic perspective.

Abstract: Dr Mizrahi studied the socioeconomic factors that influence the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas at national and local scales. She found that factors varied in their influence depending on Marine Protected Area location and scale. Conservation organisations are using the results of this study to support Marine Protected Area planning.

Advisory Panel: Dr Amy Diedrich, Dr Stephanie Duce, Dr Rebecca Weeks, Professor Robert Pressey

Thesis Title: An investigation of the Impacts of excess alcohol Consumption on chronic Disease management in a Regional setting

Abstract: Dr Mudd investigated the effect of alcohol consumption on chronic disease management. She found that alcohol consumption is challenging for both the patients and their health practitioners, resulting in poorer outcomes and decreased health engagement. GPs will use this information to better manage alcohol use in patients with chronic disease.

Advisory Panel: Professor Kerrianne Watt, Professor Sarah Larkin

Thesis Title: Foreign direct investment and the labour market in Vietnam's services sector

Abstract: Dr Nguyen investigated labour-market impacts of foreign direct investment. Guided by theoretical models, she found empirical evidence that foreign firms in Vietnam's services sector induce domestic counterparts to pay higher and employ women more intensively. Her estimations by disaggregated groups of firms and industries reveal divergent results, enriching implications for local workforce, firms and policy-makers.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Zhang-Yue Zhou, Dr Rabiul Beg and Professor Sizong Sun

Thesis Title: Evolution and ecological adaptations of microornamentation in Australian geckos (Gekkota, Squamata)

Abstract: Dr Riedel studied the microstructures in geckos. He found that hydrophobic, self-cleaning spinules (small stalks) have co-evolved with terrestrial microhabitat use as an adaptation to high exposure to dirt. Furthermore, he has established that the Binoe's Gecko is a model organism to study the evolution of adhesive toepads.

Advisory Panel: Professor Linda Schwarzkopf, Associate Professor William Edwards, Dr Deborah Bower and Dr Scott Keogh

Thesis Title: Fluctuation statistics and non-renewal behavior in nanoscale quantum transport

Abstract: Dr Rudge investigated fluctuations in molecular electronic devices, which have great potential applications in the computer industry. He found that various nanoscale effects can cause correlations in these tiny systems. His work provides insight into the dynamics of difficult to observe systems.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Daniel Kosov and Professor Ron White

Thesis Title: Mechanisms driving tuberculosis susceptibility and vaccine efficacy in HIV/AIDS and type 2 diabetes

Abstract: Dr Sathkumara investigated why AIDS and diabetes increase the risk of developing tuberculosis and how new vaccine approaches can be used to fight tuberculosis infection. He found that mucosal delivery of vaccines containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens are safer and confer superior protection against tuberculosis in animal models of AIDS and diabetes.

Advisory Panel: Dr Andreas Kupz, Associate Professor Catherine Rush, Associate Professor Lars Henning and Associate Professor Brenda Govan

Thesis Title: Assessing the impact of coral reef community management in the Kingdom of Tonga

Abstract: Dr Smallhorn-West used Tonga’s Special Management Area (SMA) program as a case study to examine the ecological impacts of community-based marine management on coral reefs. He found that Tonga’s approach to local marine management has yielded positive impacts to natural resource management and biodiversity conservation.

Advisory Panel: Professor Geoffrey Jones, Dr Thomas Bridge, Professor Robert Pressey and Dr Georgina Gurney

Thesis Title: Global patterns of international fisheries conflict

Abstract: Dr Spijkers studied international fisheries conflict. The frequency increased between 1974 and 2016. No one indicator can explain the occurrence of conflicts, yet findings in part support that growing demand for fish is linked to an increase in conflict. Together with the exploratory scenarios, this work can aid the development of conflict management strategies.

Advisory Panel: Professor Tiffany Morrision and Professor Graeme Cumming

Thesis Title: Space use by fishes on coral reefs: Establishment, fidelity and reef resilience

Abstract: Dr Streit developed new approaches to study how fishes use space on coral reefs. He found that fish are unexpectedly flexible in where they live, but that their critical ecological functions are delivered far patchier than previously thought. This study provides new ways of monitoring coral reefs as they face a challenging future.

Advisory Panel: Professor David Bellwood and Professor Graeme Cumming

Thesis Title: Use of waste glass as aggregate and cement replacement in concrete

Abstract: Dr Tamanna studied the use of waste glass as sand and cement replacement in concrete. She found that the addition of glass sand and glass powder can be a good substitute for natural sand and cement, respectively. Cairns Regional Council has implemented her research on their concrete footpath (trial) with a good success.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Rabin Tuladhar and Associate Professor Nagaratnam Sivakugan

Thesis Title: High-throughput and high-definition analysis of human T cell repertoires in health and disease

Abstract: Dr Watkins studied a specialised type of white blood cell called a T cell, which are primarily responsible for the defence against foreign microbes. During his PhD, he characterized and defined numerous different T cell populations throughout the human body in both healthy and disease models.

Advisory Panel: Professor John Miles, Professor Denise Doolan and Dr Matthew Field

Thesis Title: Examining spatiotemporal changes in the phenology of Australian mangroves using satellite imagery.

Abstract: Dr Younes investigated the phenology of Australian mangroves using satellite imagery, field data, and generalized additive models. He found that satellite-derived phenology changes with location, frequency of observation, and spatial resolution. Nicolas challenges the common methods for detecting phenology and proposes a data-driven approach.

Advisory Panel: Dr Karen Joyce, Dr Norman Duke and Mr Stefan Maier