Graduate Research School Research Excellence Dean's Award for Excellence 2022

Dean's Award for Excellence 2022

Thesis Title - Development of machine learning schemes for use in non-invasive and continuous patient health monitoring

Abstract: Dr Baker developed machine learning schemes for the non-invasive and continuous measurement of blood pressure and respiratory rate from heart activity waveforms. She also constructed machine learning models for mortality risk assessment from vital sign variations. This research contributes several tools that offer significant advancements in patient monitoring and wearable healthcare.

Advisory Panel: Professor Wei Xiang and Professor Ian Atkinson

Thesis Title - The renal parenchyma – Evaluation of a novel ultrasound measurement to assess fetal renal development

Abstract: Dr Brennan used a novel ultrasound measurement to assess how fetal kidneys grow. She developed normal ranges of fetal renal parenchymal thickness to aid the diagnosis of kidney disease and help predict future kidney function. The effects of abnormal fetal growth and diabetes on the developing kidneys was also investigated.

Advisory Panel: Professor Yogavijayan Kandasamy, Associate Professor Donna Rudd, Associate Professor David Watson and Doctor Jenny Kelly

Thesis Title - Walking and moving around for families with Machado-Joseph disease living in the Top End of Australia

Abstract: Dr Carr worked with Aboriginal families with Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) in the Top End of Australia to co-design and pilot a physical activity and lifestyle program. The ‘Staying Strong Toolbox’ program significantly improved mobility, ataxia and quality of life, will be implemented in Australia and shared with families with MJD worldwide.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Ruth Barker and Professor Alan Clough

Thesis Title - How do coral reef fishes develop into athletes?

Abstract: Dr Downie studied the development of swimming abilities of coral reef fishes during their larval phase. He found that reef fish larvae require high oxygen uptake rates to support development and swimming, mediated by genetic, cellular, and muscle-tissue changes. These physiological mechanisms are important for understanding how reef fish larvae swim toward and transition to life on the reef.

Advisory Panel: Professor Jodie Rummer and Doctor Peter Cowman

Thesis Title - ‘Do you people ever think about the lives you ruin?’ Perspectives and influences on the provision of care for extreme preterm and periviable babies in North Queensland.

Abstract: Dr Ireland studied the provision of care for periviable babies in North Queensland. Despite the pessimism from health care professionals about offering this care, parents were mostly appreciative and coped with subsequent disabilities, contextualizing them in the baby’s struggle for survival. Parents who reject the care provided voices perinatal concerns, which, if heeded would have resulted in redirection of care. Findings from this study have led to changes in practise.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Robin Ray, Professor Sarah Larkins and Doctor Lynn Woodward

Thesis Title - Non-adiabatic quantum transport and atomic motion in molecular-sized electronic systems

Abstract: Dr Kershaw investigated the vibrationally-induced transport problem in molecular electronics. He developed a mathematical model to incorporate the electron-vibrational coupling into electronic transport calculations. The developed model is being further developed at JCU and serves as an extension of methods currently used in literature.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Daniel Kosov and Professor Ronald White

Thesis Title - Geochemistry and origin of explosive alkaline volcanism in the early Rukwa Rift, southwestern Tanzania.

Abstract: Dr Lawrence studied the nature and origin of early rift magmatism in the Western Branch of the East African Rift. He discovered and modelled an entirely new mechanism of explosive volcanism and provided new insights into the geodynamic evolution of continental rift segments in sub-equatorial Eastern Africa.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Carl Spandler, Professor Eric Roberts and Doctor Brandon Mahan.

Thesis Title - Analysing the justice needs of Rwandan female victim-survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and their experiences with the gacaca courts

Abstract: Dr Rafferty analysed the justice needs of Rwandan women who were raped during the 1994 genocide. She found that the women had multiple justice needs and many, but not all, were addressed by Rwandan community courts. Her findings can help design justice processes that consider the needs of rape survivors.

Advisory Panel: Professor Chris Cunneen and Doctor Samantha Hardy Lawson

Thesis Title - Kinetic Monte-Carlo Modelling of Charge and Exciton Dynamics in Phosphorescent Organic Light-Emitting Diodes

Abstract: Dr Sanderson studied the operation of phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes using kinetic Monte-Carlo simulation techniques combined with molecular dynamics modelling for accurate representations of the molecular structure. His research has contributed to an improved understanding of the underlying physical processes in these devices.

Advisory Panel: Professor Ronald White and Doctor  Bronson Philippa

Thesis Title - University professional staff in collaborative third space environments: A multiple case study of the Australian and Singapore campuses of one university

Abstract: Dr Veles conducted a qualitative multiple case study of the university third space collaboration of professional and academic staff of one Australian university across two culturally dissimilar contexts (Australia and Singapore). She developed a novel “Conceptual framework of the university cross-boundary collaboration", which is intended to improve university professional practice

Advisory Panel: Professor Patrick Danaher and Professor Abhishek Bhati

Thesis Title - The Hmong language of North Queensland

Abstract: Dr White investigated the language of the Hmong refugee community in North Queensland, and produce the first comprehensive grammar of their language. Following Basic Linguistic Theory, the grammar presents analyses of the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the Hmong language. His research has led to the development of the Hmong Medical Corpus, a digital resource for Hmong medical communication.

Advisory Panel: Professor Sasha Aikhenvald, Professor Robert Dixon and Doctor Simon Overall

Thesis Title - The iridescent enigma: Genome evolution and species boundaries of the blue-ringed octopus species complex (Octopodidae: Hapalochlaena)

Abstract: Dr Whitelaw examined the evolution of the blue-ringed octopus genus (Octopodidae: Hapalochlaena) species complex. The current state of Hapalochlaena systematics was revealed to be insufficient for the species diversity observed. Furthermore, evolution of the Hapalochlaena genome revealed distinct differences to non-tetrodotoxin (TTX) bearing octopod genomes. This work provides a genetic basis for systematic re-evaluation of the genus, in conjunction with an annotated genome and linkage map for H. maculosa.

Advisory Panel: Professor Jan Strugnell, Doctor Ira Cooke and Professor Kyall Zenger