Graduate Research School Research Excellence Dean's Award for Excellence 2023

Dean's Award for Excellence 2023

Thesis Title: Ticking All the Boxes for Equitable Surgical Care

Abstract: Doctor de Jager studied surgical health equity measurement. Her work demonstrated disparities in surgical access and outcomes in the United States and Australia, as well as highlighting areas where health equity measures can be improved upon or expanded. Publications in this thesis have been cited over 100 times.

Advisory Panel: Professor Yik-Hong Ho and Associate Professor Ronny Gunnarsson

Thesis Title - Sedimentology, stratigraphy, and tectonic reconstruction of the northern Great Australian Superbasin

Abstract: Doctor Foley studied the stratigraphy and tectonics of the northern Great Australian Superbasin. He discovered the sources of the basin fill and resolved the Jurassic-Cretaceous tectonic setting of eastern Australia. His results have significant implications for the modelling and correlation of vital groundwater aquifers and potential carbon sequestration reservoirs across eastern Australia.

Advisory Panel: Professor Eric Roberts and Doctor Espen Knutsen

Thesis Title - Luk Luk Tambaran: Educational Media Representation of New Ireland Performance Art

Abstract: Doctor Frost studied Tribal Art in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea. He found that Education Through Art binds communities together. He developed a curriculum model supported by a series of educational videos. His educational model promotes intercultural exchange and improves understanding, respect and co-operation between Pacific Nations.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Jocene Vallack and Associate Professor Hilary Whitehouse

Thesis Title - Bioelectrical impedance analysis for adipose tissue estimation in green turtles (Chelonia mydas)

Abstract: Doctor Kophamel developed a non-invasive and portable field method for measuring body fat in green turtles. Her method improves on those currently used and can be expanded for use in other species. Adoption of her method will enhance health assessments in sea turtles and aid conservation and management planning.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Suzanne Munns, Professor Ellen Ariel and Doctor Diana Mendez

Thesis Title - Mapping connection, disconnection and power within the social news media network: A Case Study of the Great Barrier Reef UNESCO 2021 ‘In Danger’ Recommendation on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook

Abstract: Carly Lubicz-Zaorski studied how power is asserted and contested within Twitter, YouTube and Facebook regarding Great Barrier Reef (GBR) protection. She found that three key ways were adversarial framing, the problematic use of science, and the strategic interplay of ideologically-aligned actors. GBR agencies are engaging with the results.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Maxine Newlands and Associate Professor Theresa Petray

Thesis Title - Cleaning symbiosis and the disease triangle

Abstract: Doctor Narvaez found that the dedicated cleaner fish, Labroides dimidiatus, is susceptible to a diversity of parasites and can potentially transmit them to their fish clients. Her work presents a paradigm shift in the prevailing theory that cleaning symbiosis has predominantly positive impacts on coral reef fish communities.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Jennifer Donelson, Professor Kyall Zenger and Doctor Cecilia Villacorta Rath

Thesis Title - Petroleum hydrocarbon ecotoxicology for coral reef risk assessments

Abstract: Doctor Nordborg studied the sensitivity of tropical coral to petroleum oil exposure. She found that all assessed life stages of coral were sensitive to oil exposure, that impacts were exacerbated during ultraviolet light co-exposure and that oil toxicity modelling can be a useful tool in tropical oil spill risk assessments.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Andrew Negri and Professor Michael Oelemoeller

Thesis Title - Experimental Hookworm Infection in Humans with Metabolic Disease

Abstract: Doctor Pierce investigated experimental hookworm infection in humans with metabolic disease. She found that infection with 20 hookworm larvae significantly improved insulin resistance that was associated with body mass reductions in this cohort. The results confirm the protective role of worm infection as a therapeutic tool against metabolic disease

Advisory Panel: Doctor Paul Giacomin, Professor Robyn McDermott and Doctor Matt Field

Thesis Title - Ontogeny of problem solving in a native Australian rodent, the fawn-footed mosaic-tailed rat Melomys cervinipes

Abstract: Doctor Rowell studied the development of problem solving in a native rodent. She found that, while early life and physiology had little influence, problem solving was flexible, improving as individuals gained experience, explored their environment and learned information. Flexible problem solving likely allows animals to cope with novel environmental changes.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Tasmin Rymer, Doctor Benjamin Hirsch and Doctor Bradley Congdon

Thesis Title - Explorations into the Rare Earth Chemistry of Biphenolates and Superbulky Cyclopentadienyl Ligands, and a Study of C-F Activation by Rare Earth Metals

Abstract: Doctor Shephard studied a range of alternative synthetic methods for accessing valuable rare earth metal complexes. He explored new and previously unused methods of synthesising rare earth biphenolate complexes, superbulky lanthanoid metallocene complexes, and lanthanoid formamidinate and pyrazolate species. His work has provided fundamental insight into the reactivity of free rare earth metals.

Advisory Panel: Professor Peter Junk and Doctor Murray Davies

Thesis Title - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competence in legal service delivery; how can it be defined, measured and produced?

Abstract: Georgia Storm explored the possibilities for utilising the theory of Indigenous Cultural Competence in legal practice. She found that conceptual and governance structures constrained solicitors' abilities to incorporate lndigeneity in legal practice. This research builds understandings about how and why Indigenous Cultural Competence is excluded from legal practitioner client relations.

Advisory Panel: Doctor Vincent Backhaus and Associate Professor Felecia Watkin

Thesis Title - The functioning of future coral reefs: fishes, sediments and productivity

Abstract: Doctor Tebbett explored the capacity of future coral reefs to sustain critical ecosystem functions. His research suggests that many future reefs will be typified by algal turfs, and that interactions between sediments, fishes and productivity on such reefs are important. Managing these interactions may help sustain the functioning of reefs.

Advisory Panel: Professor David Bellwood and Professor Sean Connolly