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Graduate Research School Research Excellence Dean's Award for Excellence 2020

Dean's Award for Excellence 2020

Thesis Title:  Understanding Orientation and Mobility learning and teaching for primary school students with vision impairment: A qualitative study.

Abstract: Dr Blake explored the pedagogical practice of Orientation and Mobility for students with vision impairment within the Department of Education. She found that Orientation and Mobility learning and teaching is a distinctive pedagogical practice applied to a deeply personal context that aligns with the Australian Curriculum, and facilitates self-efficacy for students with vision impairment.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Paul Pagliano and Associate Professor Margaret Carter

Thesis Title:  Playing the game: A grounded theory study of the integration of internationally qualified nurses in the Australian healthcare system

Abstract: Dr Chun Tie identified processes registered nurses and internationally qualified nurses from diverse educational, cultural and/or linguistic backgrounds use to work together collaboratively in the Australian context. Ylona constructed the grounded theory playing the game which advances understanding of integration leading to relevant and implementable findings for regulators and nurse-workforce sustainability.

Advisory Panel: Professor Karen Francis and Professor Melanie Birks

Thesis Title:  Understanding Chinese tourist shopping in Australia: A social practice perspective

Abstract: Dr Jin investigated Chinese tourist shopping in Australia. He found that Chinese tourists purchase a large variety of utilitarian products not only for themselves, but also as gifts and upon requests. Retail businesses in the tourism industry are using his findings in developing marketing polices for the Chinese market.

Advisory Panel: Professor Gianna Moscardo and Associate Professor Laurie Murphy

Thesis Title: Development of sustainable groundwater management methodologies to control saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers and an application to a coastal aquifer in tropical pacific island country

Abstract: Dr Lal developed groundwater salinity prediction tools, multi-objective management models and adaptive strategies for the management of coastal aquifers, and application to Kiribati, a small island country in the South Pacific. The results establish that the developed tools and methods have the potential to solve current saltwater intrusion problems and possibly avoid or explore future unforeseen problems as well.

Advisory Panel: Dr Bithin Datta and Associate Professor Nagaratnam Sivakugan

Thesis Title: ‘The reef is our garden’ expanding analysis of ecosystem services in coastal communities

Abstract: Dr Lau investigated how people perceive, access, and articulate issues of justice around the use of coastal ecosystems in Papua New Guinea. She found people’s values, access and perceptions of justice differ between and within communities. Her study extends ecosystem services theory to promote fairer conservation of coastal ecosystems.

Advisory Panel: Professor Joshua Cinner, Doctor Christina Graham and Doctor Georgina Gurney

Thesis Title: Percutaneous absorption in frogs: in vitro and in vivo studies Developing models for disease treatment and environmental risk management

Abstract: Dr Llewelyn investigated delivery of chemicals through the skin of frogs, with the rate and extent of absorption found to differ depending on the frog’s habitat. Tori developed the first model of absorption that will both inform the design of treatments for disease in frogs, and also advise risk-management in frog habitats.

Advisory Panel: Professor Beverley Glass and Doctor Lee Berger

Thesis Title:  Selective breeding for tolerance to gill-associated virus in the black tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon

Abstract: Dr Noble investigated the potential to breed prawns that are disease tolerant to a commercially important prawn virus. She found that prawns differ in their level of tolerance based on their genetic background. Prawn farmers can use the results from her study to breed disease tolerant prawns and improve productivity.

Advisory Panel: Professor Dean Jerry, Professor Kyall Zenger, Doctor Gregory Coman and Doctor Nicholas Wade

Thesis Title: Competition and coexistence of reef-corals

Abstract: Dr Álvarez Noriega investigated how hydrodynamic disturbance affects biodiversity maintenance in coral assemblages. She found that environmental variation in the form of hydrodynamic disturbance can contribute to coral species coexistence when competitors differ in their size-dependent susceptibility to disturbance. Changes in hydrodynamic disturbance will have impacts on coral species coexistence.

Advisory Panel: Professor Sean Connolly, Associate Professor Mia Hoogenboom and Professor Andrew Baird

Thesis Title:  The structural response and progressive failure of batten to rafter connections under wind loads

Abstract: Dr Parackal studied progressive failures of the roofs of light framed timber houses. He used a combination of wind tunnel testing, component testing and computer structural analysis to create simulations of failures in wind storms. Results were used to estimate vulnerability of houses to wind loads and check the effectiveness of retrofitting measures for older Australian houses

Advisory Panel: Professor John Ginger, Dr David Henderson

Thesis Title:  Building the evidence base for river drowning prevention

Abstract: Dr Peden explored the epidemiology, risk factors and strategies for preventing unintentional fatal drowning in Australian rivers. Taking a public health approach, this research identified males, alcohol, geographical isolation and flooding as risk factors. In partnership with Royal Life Saving, findings were implemented, achieving an 18% reduction in river drowning.

Advisory Panel: Associate Professor Richard Franklin and Professor Peter Leggat

Thesis Title:  Investigating the immunomodulatory properties of hookworm recombinant secretome

Abstract: Dr Ryan generated over 100 hookworm proteins, assessed their anti-inflammatory properties in a murine colitis model and further validated the top leads in a human PBMC assay. This work produced a novel, rapid drug discovery pipeline and a comprehensive library of hookworm derived immunotherapeutics for treating IBD.

Advisory Panel: Professor Alex Loukas, Doctor Paul Giacomin and Doctor Matthew Field