Congratulations to our newest research graduates!

College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Commerce

La Trobe Business School

Dr  Jennifer Atkins

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Impact of Deferred Taxes on Earnings Management: The Moderating Effect of Culture

Dr Atkins studied corporate financial reporting and the relationship between deferred tax and earnings management in five Asia-Pacific nations. She showed that national culture significantly influences how firms opportunistically manage earnings. The findings show that the process of harmonizing international accounting standards is constrained by cultural differences.

Dr Tharindu Barandaragoda

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Beyond Social Media Analytics: Understanding Human Behaviour and Deep Emotion Using Self Structuring Incremental Machine Learning

Dr Bandaragoda investigated a novel approach for gaining in-depth insights from online social media data, by incorporating social science theories with machine learning and natural language processing techniques. He combined this theoretical approach with novel artificial intelligence techniques and applied them in practical applications that deliver actionable insights.

Dr Lutfa Ferdous

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Effect of Powerful CFOs on Financial Reporting Quality

Dr Ferdous examined the influence of Chief Financial Officers on corporate disclosure and earning quality. She found that the presence of a powerful Chief Financial Officer improved an organisation’s corporate information environment and disclosure quality but impaired the quality of earnings. Her findings provide insights into the behaviour and effect of a Chief Financial Officer’s involvement in corporate financial reporting processes.

Dr Yuan Peng Liu

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Impacts of Dark Trading and Block Trading on Firm Valuation and Default Risk

Dr Liu studied the impacts of dark trading and block trading on firm valuation and default risk. He showed that dark trading reduces firm value and increases firm default risk, while block trading has little impact. The findings provide insight into the real adverse effects of dark trading.

Dr Maria Montesano

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Managing Workplace Flexibility in the Australian Public Sector: Two Local Government Case Studies

Dr Montesano investigated workplace flexibility in the Australian Public Sector. She examined drivers and barriers to implementation and utilisation through two case studies. Her research findings provide insights into the perspectives of organisations, managers and employees and how the needs of these various constituents interconnect and influence each other.

Dr Mark Redmond

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Conditions for Successful Professional Sport League Expansion

Dr Redmond examined changes to the composition of major Australian professional sport league franchises. He identified key internal and external factors and processes that need to be managed carefully during franchise expansion by Australian professional sport leagues and franchise operators. His research has implications for future Australian sport league management strategies.

Dr Yujie Wang

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Generative Comprehension and Storyline Construction from Narrative Text: an Artificial Intelligence Approach Based on Cognitive Psychology

Dr Wang investigated innovative techniques for modelling event-based knowledge from streams of narrative text from diverse sources. Through her research, she developed practical tools to discover insights from big volumes of unstructured narrative text through machine learning. Dr Wang’s findings have implications for enabling artificial intelligence to understand human discourse.

School of Education

Dr Genevieve Blades

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Walking Practices with/in Nature(s) as Ecopedagogy in Outdoor Environmental Education: An Autophenomenographic Study

Dr Blades studied her emotional, sensory, and physical responses to the qualities and characteristics of nature as she walked through different natural and cultural landscapes. Her research found that walking experiences have ecological dimensions of movement, sensing and knowing. These findings have implications for ethically practiced outdoor environmental education curriculum.

Dr Lee Koh

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: A Qualitative Study on Family and Community Educational Support for Students from Lower-income Families in Singapore

Dr Koh explored the influence of community subsidised tutoring on academic engagement of students from lower-income families in Singapore. The study found that tensions exist between motivation to do well and family economic, social and cultural capital. Dr Koh’s findings may inform policy and processes aimed at eliminating educational barriers and inequality.

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr Angeline Leece


Doctor of Philosophy

Dr Leah O'Hearn

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Akratic Catullus and the Moral Conflicts of Desire

Dr O’Hearn studied contradictory representations of erotic desire in the works of the Roman poet Catullus. Applying Aristotle’s concept of ‘weakness of will’, she found that Catullus provokes Roman gender norms by depicting himself as unable to control erotic emotions. Her research deepens our understanding of emotional ethics and masculinity in Catullus’ poetry.

Dr Jayne Rantall

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: A Search for Reconciliation: Memorialising 'Shared' Histories in Australia and the United States, 1987-2012

Dr Rantall explored the relationship between reconciliation and memorials in Australia and the United States. She showed that the success of a reconciliation memorial depends on proper consultation and true sharing between Indigenous peoples and settlers. This research provides insight into cultural understandings of reconciliation methods and processes.

Dr Sara Zapata Saed

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Splintered Self: Trauma, Masculinity and Ethics in the Fiction of Tim Winton

Dr Zapata examined Tim Winton’s work through the lens of trauma theory, masculinities and ethics criticism. She identified connections between gender, trauma and the configuration of selfhood. Her findings show that Winton’s works elaborate alternative masculine subjectivities grounded on an ethics of vulnerability and the ethical dimension of self.

Dr Maria Sergi

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Subtext and Context: Pathways to Trauma Recovery in Gianna Manzini's Ritratto in piedi

Dr Sergi explored the relationship between literary production and the recovery from childhood trauma in the writing of the Italian novelist, Gianna Manzini. She found that Manzini’s autobiographical writing illustrates her unconscious symptomology. Dr Sergi’s thesis breaks new ground in applying neuroscience and recent psychoanalytic advances in memory studies.

Dr Kyle Slade

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Bushfire Risk in Late-Modernity: An Examination of Risk Perspectives and Ontological Security Structures in Victorian Urban-Rural Interface Residents

Dr Slade studied the bushfire risk perspectives of peri-urban communities in Victoria. Community members have diverse experience with bushfires, so do not necessarily agree they are ‘at-risk’. Social convention means they form their own strategies for managing risks. The findings provide insights for developing better risk communication strategies.

Dr Shane Worrell

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Karen Humanitarian Migrants and Video Calling: Digital Brokering in a Smartphone Age

Dr Worrell has researched humanitarian migrants from the Karen ethnic minority living in Bendigo. Focusing on the use of smartphones and video calling, his work demonstrates how younger Karen people engage in digital brokering to help their parents communicate with family overseas. The findings provide insights into the positive impacts of this type of brokering on settlement experiences in migrant settings.

Julia Ely

Master by Research
Thesis title: The Breaking of the World: Reclaiming Karl Jaspers' Existential-Experimental Reading of Friedrich Nietzsche

Kuol Garang

Master by Research
Thesis title: The Legacy of Civil War in South Sudan: Elite Ethno-Politics and Failed Peace Agreements

Brigid Rice

Master by Research
Thesis title: The Counterpart Perspective Expatriate Advisers and Technical Assistance in Papua New Guinea

College of Science, Health, and Engineering

School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport

Dr Sara Gilmore

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Physiotherapy Management of Patients Prior to and Immediately After Lumbar Spinal Surgery

Dr Gilmore explored the relationship between walking and recovery after lumbar surgery. She found that patients did very little walking early after surgery, however those who walked more experienced greater longer-term recovery. These findings suggest that resuming walking may be an important component of rehabilitation from early after lumbar surgery.

Dr  Laura Joliffe

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Improving Evidence-Based Implementation of Guidelines in Rehabilitation

Dr Jolliffe investigated how evidence-based neurorehabilitation could be implemented more efficiently in clinical settings. She identified several strategies to improve guideline use and adoption. Her research has important implications for adults recovering from brain injury and stroke, and has advanced knowledge on optimal rehabilitation and service delivery.

Dr Maria Papamichael

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Prophylactic Potential of a Mediterranean Diet Enriched with Fatty FIsh in Childhood Asthma

Dr Papamichael explored the effect of a Mediterranean diet enriched with fatty fish in childhood asthma. Two meals of fatty fish weekly in the context of a Mediterranean diet significantly reduced bronchial inflammation in asthmatic children. The results imply that small dietary changes could reduce the burden of childhood asthma.

Sara Calthorpe

Master by Research
Thesis title: Optimising Physiotherapy Assessment of Trauma Patients in the Acute Hospital Setting

School of Applied Systems Biology

Dr  Natasha Brohier

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Genome Editing Technology for Modification of Fungal Endophytes of Pasture Grasses

Dr Brohier explored the application of genome editing technology in fungal species that live in agronomically important grasses. Her research resulted in protocols that aid in perfecting these fungal species with low or no regulatory burden. The findings have potential to contribute to pasture improvement that will ultimately benefit the agriculture industry.

Dr Jacqueline Morris

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Characterisation of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter brunswickensis’, a Novel Candidate Liberibacter Species Identified in Australia

Dr Morris discovered and characterised a new candidate bacterial species in a small sap-sucking insect that feeds on eggplants. Her findings provide insights to the Liberibacter genus, insights to what bacteria are present in Australia, and can aid the development of robust diagnostic tests to reliably detect exotic plant pathogens.

School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Dr  Ahmed Alamer

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Lightweight Synchronous Stream Ciphers: From Mathematical and Statistical Analysis to Proposed Secure Protocols for Mobile Cloud Computing and RFID Applications

Dr Alamer explored different aspects of ciphers in the field of cryptography. He used randomness testing for the evaluation of a chosen set of encryption methods and proposed a new lightweight cipher. He also proposed new security protocols for mobile cloud computing and RFID technology for low-cost applications, such as eHealth applications without internet connectivity.

Dr Hussein Al-Bandawi

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Image Quality Assessment Using Benford's Law and Natural Scene Statistics

Dr Al-Bandawi examined the Benford law model for the frequency distribution of leading digits of natural images. He developed algorithms for blind image quality assessment and distortion classification. His findings show that the Benford law is a good model for undistorted natural images.

School of Life Sciences

Dr Mithun Das

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Differential Control of Zika Virus Infection in Astrocytes and Development of Tools for Genetic Antiviral Screening

Dr Das investigated the ability of a subset of specialist neural cells termed astrocytes to control zika virus infection. During his PhD he was able to describe molecular factors that underlie the ability of astrocytes to control zika virus infection, and also developed a novel screening assay to detect host factors that enhance an antiviral host response. This work will greatly assist in the development of novel therapeutics against zika virus infection.

Dr Clayton Harris

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Hydrological and Vegetative Controls on the Concentration and Composition of Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON)

Dr Harris studied River Red Gum leaves as a source of dissolved organic nitrogen in rivers and floodplains. He determined that dissolved organic nitrogen can constitute up to 81% of dissolved nitrogen in rivers and that adjacent land-use, vegetation, townships and river confluences control the form and likely bioavailability of dissolved organic nitrogen in river systems.

Dr Victoria McCartney

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Vegetation and Hydrology of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems on the Bogong High Plains, Victoria

Dr McCartney studied the distribution of the aquatic moss Blindia robusta in the Australian Alps and its association with groundwater sources. She has shown that this species is extremely sensitive to desiccation and reliant upon permanent supply of groundwater. Her research highlights the need for the protection of these fragile ecosystems.

Dr Toai Nguyen

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Interactions on Agricultural Land between Indigenous People and Immigrants and Consumption Patterns of Forest Products in the Buffer Zones of Vietnam’s Bu Gia Map National Park

Dr Nguyen studied the relationships between socioeconomic interactions and the consumption of forest products between indigenous people and immigrants. He showed that socioeconomic interactions on agricultural land changed the consumption patterns of forest products. His research has an implication for local governments and forest managers in sustainable development around protected areas.

Dr Rakhshan Roohi

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Improving Remote Sensing Evapotranspiration Estimates  to Constrain Groundwater Contributions to Catchment Water Balances in Western Victoria, Australia

Dr Roohi studied water loss through vegetation and its impact on groundwater. She found that water loss from contrasting catchments correlated with groundwater depth. Her findings indicate that plantations have higher water loss, which provides significant insights for future plantation planting strategies.

Dr Rabajal Vaheesan

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Investigation of res Hunter Transposons from Clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa Strains

Dr Rajabal investigated transposons, a group of mobile DNA elements that contribute to the spread of antimicrobial resistance. His research revealed the wide distribution of the elements in local clinical bacteria and elucidated their function. Dr Rajabal’s findings contribute to a better understanding of antimicrobial resistance as a global threat.

Dr Sajal Zia

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Investigation of the Effect of Melatonin in Arabidopsis thaliana and Soil Microbes

Dr Zia investigated the biological function of the compound melatonin that exists in all life kingdoms. She showed that melatonin treatment of plants from different geographical locations induced molecular responses that are essential for their survival under extreme environmental conditions. Her research provides evidence and guidance for the  use of melatonin to develop climate-resilient crops.

Simon Heyes

Master by Research

Thesis title: The Forgotten Savannas of Western Victoria: Population Dynamics of Tree-form Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) in a Severely Fragmented Landscape

Daniel Rice

Master by Research

Thesis title: Community and Whole Genome Analysis of Wastewater Bacteria

School of Molecular Sciences

Dr Alaleh Aminzadeh

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Alternative Fabrication Methods of Diffractive Optics for Soft X-Ray Coherent Imaging Applications

Dr Aminzadeh investigated alternative nanofabrication methods for soft X-ray coherent diffractive imaging. Current fabrication methods are complex, expensive, and time-consuming. She developed a novel and efficient two-step nanofabrication process for fabricating three-dimensional diffractive optics. The findings provide insights into faster, efficient, and high-resolution soft X-ray coherent diffractive imaging techniques.

Dr Catherine Meister

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Synthesis of a Series of Analogues as Potential Therapeutics for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Dr Meister developed new organic chemistry methods to synthesize potential drug candidates for amyptrophic lateral sclerosis. This work allowed the synthesis of molecules with improved ability to protect nerve cells from damage. These findings may lead to a new drug treatment for motor neurone disease.

Dr Noah Kebede

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Effects of Electrode Rotation and Co-reactant Identity on Electrogenerated Chemiluinescence

Dr Kebede examined molecules which emit light under electrical stimulation. He explored the physical chemistry of electrochemiluminescent systems and developed new methodologies facilitating the use of these molecules in medical and health diagnostics. His findings have implications for the development of sensors in the context of future biomedical and environmental applications.

Dr Sara Pandidan

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Physiochemical Studies of the Membrane Disrupting Action of Antimicrobial Peptides

Dr Pandidan studied the interaction of antimicrobial peptides with model membranes. Through her research, she discovered new details about their membrane disrupting action. Her findings revealed novel design rules for the development of a new generation of bioinspired antibiotics to tackle the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Dr Zili Li

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Investigations of Macrocyclic and Heterobimetallic N-Heterocyclic Carbene Metal

Dr Li has developed new synthetic chemical methods for the preparation of cyclic molecules to recognise environmentally important anions, and designed a series of bimetallic compounds that have strong antibacterial activity. These studies offer new pathways for the development of chemical sensors and antimicrobial drugs.

Dr Kaijian Xing

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Engineering the Two-Dimensional Hole Gas on Hydrogen-Terminated Diamond by Transition Metal Oxides Towards Diamond Surface Electronics

Dr Xing engineered new device architectures which use transition metal oxide materials to induce two-dimensional conductivity at the surface of diamond. By probing the quantum transport properties of these devices at low temperature he has demonstrated a new approach to tuning the spin properties of the surface conducting channel. These results show that diamond has potential for the development of practical next generation electronic devices which operate at low-power by using electron spin to transport information.

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Dr Lorelle Martin

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: “Revealing the Roadblocks in STEMI Management” Timely STEMI Management over Total Ischaemic Time in Metropolitan, Regional and Rural Victoria

Dr Martin explored the importance of timeliness in heart attack management. She identified characteristics of patients and healthcare that affect how likely it is that recommended time parameters will be achieved. She explored barriers and enablers experienced by frontline clinicians, and identified potential system-level interventions that could improve treatment timeliness.

Dr Paula Matheson

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Regional Victorian Community Mental Health Nurses’ Understandings and Experiences of E-Mental Health Interventions: A Multiple Case Study

Dr Matheson examined the mental health experiences and understandings of e-mental health of nurses based in regional communities. She found that nurses were willing to use the technology, but were often frustrated by deficits in funding, infrastructure, leadership and training. Her findings help address these problems within the profession in the future.

School of Psychology and Public Health

Dr Gorica Boskovski

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Predictors of Child Language Development and Parent Mental Health after Moderate-Late Preterm Birth

Dr Boskovski studied child language development and parent mental health in families who had experienced moderate to late preterm birth. Her findings provide insights into factors associated with child language development and mental health outcomes for mothers and fathers in this population that may guide future research and intervention.

Dr Paulina Ezer

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Impacts of a National Curriculum on Relationship and Sexuality Education: An Australian Story of Discourse, Practice and Need

Dr Ezer examined the impacts of the national Australian curriculum on teachers’ delivery of relationship and sexuality education and students’ experiences receiving this material. Findings revealed that teachers are insufficiently prepared to deliver relationship and sexuality education in line with national guidelines and students’ diverse needs continue to be unmet.

Dr Karien Hill

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Strengthening the Community's Response to Peer Suicide Risk: Evaluating the Efficacy of Technology-Based Bystander Intervention Model-Informed Tools

Dr Hill developed new suicide prevention educational resources for the general public, tested the materials with two randomised controlled trials, and found significant improvements in participants’ readiness and skill in detecting and responding to suicide risk compared to controls. She has contributed evidence-based tools to be implemented in the community.

Dr Katrina Lambert

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Respiratory Health in a Changing World: The Role of Pollen and its Interaction with Greenspace on Childhood Lung Function

Dr Lambert explored connections between pollen, residential greenness and paediatric respiratory health. She showed grass pollen exposure in early life was associated with decreased adolescent lung function and that residential greenness modified associations between acute pollen exposure and airway inflammation. These finding have public health implications for the management of asthma.

Dr Susanna Psalios

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Collateral Damage of the 'War on Obesity'

Dr Psalios studied the relationship between the Australian anti-obesity campaign and eating disorders. Her research shows that the campaign is contributing to fat stigma and disordered eating, with ethical implications, especially in women. Her research provides evidence for obesity policy reform in this under-researched area.

Dr Lauryn Stewart

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Participation of Trans Women in Sport

Dr Stewart examined participation of trans women in sport. She conducted in-depth interviews with 20 women and 9 officials from national sporting organisations. Her findings provide insights into barriers and facilitators to sports participation, as well as evidence of the importance of sport to trans women’s wellbeing and social integration.

Dr Andrew Westle

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Dancing Like a Man: Sexuality, Gender and the Body among Contemporary Male Dancers in Australia

Dr Westle studied the experiences of male dancers in three Australian contemporary dance companies. The ethnographic research explored how male dancers embody masculinity at a time of significant change in gender relations. The findings provide insight into dance companies as sites in which contemporary expectations about masculinity are being renegotiated.

La Trobe Rural Health School

Dr Owen Howlett

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Use of Functional Electrical Stimulation to Improve the Daily Life of a Stroke Survivor

Dr Howlett investigated the therapy of functional electrical stimulation (FES) to help stroke survivors re-engage in daily life. His research justifies the use of functional electrical stimulation, however contextual factors such as a clinician’s scope of practice, may reduce its use. Findings reinforce that to implement functional electrical stimulation, contextual factors should be addressed.

2020 Past research graduates

College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Commerce

La Trobe Business School

Dr  Samar Sulaiman Mohammed Alharbi

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Effect of Local Gambling Preference on Earning Management, Tax Avoidance and Pricing of Bank Loans

Dr Alharbi examined the consequences of companies’ local gambling preferences on corporate policies and lending decisions. She found that the local gambling preference is associated with higher earnings management, corporate tax avoidance, and cost of bank loans. Her findings highlight the negative effect of local gambling culture on corporate outcomes.

Dr Nadeesha Nirmal RohanDimunguvarige

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Does Whistleblower Policy in Firms Affect Financial Reporting Quality, Risk Disclosures and Investment Efficiency? Evidence From an Emerging Economy

Dr Dimunguvarige examined whistleblower policies. The research found that the presence of such policies improves financial reporting quality in the post-scandal periods, as well risk disclosures and investment efficiency in an emerging economy. The findings suggest that firms and regulators may utilise an effective whistleblower policy as a corporate governance mechanism towards better financial reporting and disclosure practices.

Dr MaryImam

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: An Exploration of Migration and Work Decisions, Values, and Subjective Well-Being of Skilled Immigrants in Australia

Dr Imam examined the human dimensions of skilled immigration. By studying the stories of skilled immigrants to Australia, she found that immigrants whose decisions and experiences were consistent with their core personal values exhibited positive subjective well-being, which in turn supported a coherent self-concept. Her findings contribute to the understanding of the human immigration experience.

Dr Shaheen Jahan

Doctor of Philosopy
Thesis title: Three Essays on Short Selling

Dr Jahan examined the effect of short selling on firm’s monitoring behaviour, cash holdings, dividend policy, and potential tax avoidance. She found that any increased monitoring resulting from short selling increased cash holdings, improved corporate compliance and lowered the chance of tax avoidance. Her findings contribute to the understanding of short selling behaviour in a corporate context.

Dr SaeidehSaedi Khosroshahi

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Urban Water Management: Customer Engagement and Conservation Tariffs

Dr Saedikhosroshahi used a novel two-dimensional approach to identify the urban water solutions mismatch in preferences between water providers and customers. The thesis develops a two-dimensional discrete choice approach for comparing the preferences of customers for water services with the perspectives held by managers of water utilities. The results highlight the challenges of implementing new economic regulation, where utilities are required to match the service expectations held by customers.

Dr Mohammad Zakaria Masud

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: A Study of Management Accounting Systems Sophistication in Association with Firm Characteristics to Develop a Performance Optimization Model

Dr Masud investigated how the organizational life cycle and behaviour of top management teams are associated with sophisticated management accounting systems and firm performance. He developed a model presenting empirical evidence of alternative performance optimization routes at the peak phase of the organizational life cycle. His research will help inform future management strategies for Top Management Teams.

Dr MichaelMichael

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Three Essays on Corporate General Counsel: Evidence from US Market

Dr Michael examined the role of Corporate General Counsels (CGCs) for top management teams. He found that the presence of General Counsels positively influenced a company’s efficient investment decisions, discipline dividend policy and higher share liquidity. His findings suggest that CGCs can significantly reduce distortion in information between shareholders and top management.

Dr Victoria AsantewaaObeng

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Externalities of Voluntary Integrated Reporting (IR): An International Study

Dr Obeng examined the effects of voluntary integrated reporting on firms. She found that integrated reporting is associated with a lower firm level agency cost, higher level of investment efficiency and earnings quality around the world. Her research findings showed that voluntary adoption of integrated reporting improves internal decision-making and reduces managerial opportunism.

Dr  Tuan Phong Pham

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Three Essays on ASEAN Stock Markets

Dr Phong Pham studied key financial features of the stock markets of the ASEAN region. The research revealed pieces of evidence that support the Efficiency Market Hypothesis and the positive impact of regional financial liberalisation. His thesis makes a strong contributions to the knowledge and understanding of the ASEAN stock markets.

Dr Sophia Rozario

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Unpacking Employee Selection Decisions in an Interview Process: Insights from a Public Vocational Education Sector

Dr Rozario examined decision-making engagements during the employee selection process in the vocational education sector in Victoria. She identified critical aspects and dominant factors that can influence process improvements. Her findings contribute to an empirical understanding of the process, the progression of a conceptual decision model, and the potential for a future consistent model.

Dr Berty Vidanapathirana

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Three Essays on Corporate Payout Strategies

Dr Vidanapathirana examined future earnings prospects along with changes in payout policy in an Australian imputation tax environment. He found that market buybacks and dividend initiations conveyed information regarding future earnings prospects and affected long-term price reaction. His findings contribute to the literature on imputation tax and earning prospects.

Dr Yun Zhou

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Essays on Dividend Policy and Cost of Equity Capital

Dr Zhou examined the rationale for changes in dividend policy and the effect of inventor concentration on cost of equity capital in the US. She found that dividend changes convey information, and that inventor concentration positively affects cost of equity capital. Her findings contribute to dividend and human capital literature.

School of Education

Dr Lucy Edwards

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Education, Technology and Higher Order Thinking

Dr Edwards investigated learning with technology in secondary schools, and why it currently does not have a sound theoretical and pedagogical basis. She examined teachers’ understanding of technology, its use for learning in the English classroom, and how this influenced higher order thinking. She found that technology incorporation into secondary teaching techniques requires ongoing development.

Dr Jade Sleeman

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Bridges, Boundaries and Hybrid Spaces: International Students’ Experiences with Social Media in an Australian University

Dr Sleeman explored international students’ educational uses of social media for learning and connection to peers. She identified that platform type and group processes influenced opportunities for building bridges to connections, creating boundaries, or facilitating hybrid spaces that promoted academic-social engagement. The findings demonstrate how social media influences student perceptions of connection.

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr Ase Bjorasen

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Winged Host: Memory, Trauma and Loss in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited

Dr Bjorasen analysed the role of memory in communicating loss in Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Brideshead Revisited’. She found that memory and imagination merge in the narrative to reveal the impact of displacement. Her research has implications for the study of memory, and provides insight into how memory is formed and communicated.

Dr Helen Bodycomb

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Mosaic: Classical Principles and The Act of Making in Contemporary Works

Dr Bodycomb explored the relationships between historical and contemporary mosaic conventions, introducing the concept of ‘thinking in mosaic’. By drawing on ancient concepts of poiesis (doing) and praxis (practice) together with new materialist thinking, she revealed mosaic as a unique mode of contemporary thinking as well as making.

Dr Geoffrey Brown

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Excess as Form

Dr Brown explored artistic alternatives and critiques of neoliberalism. The thesis argues that neoliberal capitalism drives anthropogenic excess, and proposes an artistic strategy that overidentifies with that excess through tactics of mirroring, magnifying and subversively affirming. The findings contribute to enhancing the artistic insight needed to build the subjectivity for collective political change.

Dr Matthew Carter

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Manufacturing Identity: Pakeha Shipbuilding and the ‘Middle Ground’ in Aotearoa New Zealand

Dr Carter explored the archaeology of the interaction between Maori (Indigenous New Zealanders) and Pakeha (non-Maori of European origin) through shipbuilding in pre-colonial Aotearoa New Zealand. The research demonstrated quantifiable differences between these ships and their ‘British’ contemporaries, contributing to our understanding of how human societies adapt and innovate within frontier environments.

Dr Stephen Cuttriss

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Tango Siglo XXI: The Revival of the Orquesta Tipica in Twenty-First Century Buenos Aires

Dr Cuttriss investigated the intersections between musical revival and heritage in twenty-first century Buenos Aires. Focusing on the tango orchestral tradition, he showed how conventional heritage models gave rise to peripheral forms of artistic practice. The findings provide insights into how music cultures develop mechanisms for community formation, revival and cultural sustainability.

Dr Belinda D'Angelo

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: No Longer Slaves and Subjects: Hellenistic Funerary Architecture of Pelagonia

Dr D’Angelo investigated the funerary rituals of the ancient Pelagonians, an important region ally of the ancient Macedonians. Through the identification and excavation of a unique type of tomb in Pelagonia, she identified the presence of an elite-warrior class who were responsible for securing the Macedonian homeland which helped facilitate Macedonian expansion through Alexander the Great.

Dr Dilhani Iresha Mangappuli Dissanayakage

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Spirit of The Cinnamon Peeler: Trade, Labour, Community and Colonialism in Sri Lanka, 1796 to the Present

Dr Dissanayake explored the economic, social and cultural history of the cinnamon trade in colonial and post-colonial Sri Lanka. She focused especially on the working lives of cinnamon peelers. She argued that despite exploitation, peelers have been able to exercise agency and to find meaning and pride in their work.

Dr Tara Edwards

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Geochronology of the Bolt's Farm Cave System: An Investigation of the Development and Age of Palaeokarst Localities in the Cradle of Humankind

Dr Edwards investigated the geological formation and age of three fossil bearing palaeocaves at Bolt’s Farm, South Africa. Coupled palaeomagnetic and uranium series dating reveal that Bolt’s Farm preserves a record of fossil evolution form 3.03 to 1.38 million years ago and challenges the established narrative that sites of great antiquity are preserved in the UNESCO Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

Dr Christopher Harrington

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Creatures Like The Bee: The Social Insect in the Social Problem Novel

Dr Harrington studied the popularisation of scientific knowledge about honeybees in early Victorian culture. While also making discoveries relevant to the history of science, his research illustrates how narratives about honeybees helped mediate in the Condition of England Debate and the interrelated subgenre of English literature known as the social problem novel.

Dr Ruth Learner

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Evanescent Moment: Loss and the Creative Endeavour

Dr Learner examined the relationship between memory and loss through literature. By extending a literary refractive index she established evanescent moments, and showed that the only way to convey original loss is through invention. Her research identifies the primacy of process in literature, engendering self-understanding, evoking loss and achieving agency.

Dr Kirsty Macfarlane

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Educational Justice: A Multidimensional Account

Dr Macfarlane’s thesis examined the ideal education system. She highlighted problems with existing theories of educational justice, and developed a more compelling alternative focused on sufficiency, equality, prioritising the least advantaged and developing children’s potentials. Her research thereby clarified the key normative principles that should underpin a just education system.

Dr Xiangxiang Meng

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Role of Mitochondrial Function and Retrograde Signalling for Stress Responses in Arabidopsis thaliana

Dr Meng investigated mitochondria, the powerhouses of plant cells, in an agricultural context. Through his research, he identified genes with importance for flooding tolerance in agriculture. Dr Meng’s findings will contribute to future strategies for maintaining food security in the case of flooding problems caused by the changing climate.

Dr Jamin Moon

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Law, The Thirdspace and Decolonisation in Australia, Canada and Aotearoa/New Zealand

Dr Moon explored relationships between decolonisation, Aboriginal rights, and Aboriginal heritage laws in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. He found that Western governments are starting to recognise Aboriginal rights over their heritage due to evolving views about what Aboriginal heritage means. His findings have implications for understanding the national identities of Western settler states.

Dr Catherine Papadopoullos

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Recasting Transgression in Modernity Prohibition, Pleasure and Otherness

Dr Papadopoullos examined transgression as a modern critical sensibility. She showed that forms of transgression are contemporaneous with literacy, artistic and individual interrogations into eroticism as limit-experience. Her research provides insight into struggles against rationalism and suggests that recasting of transgression is central to the constitution of the modern subject.

Dr Katherine Thomas

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Participatory and Experimental GIS in the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area,NSW

Dr Thomas explored pre-European land use and occupancy in collaboration with the Ngyiampaa, Mutthi Mutthi and the Paakantji people in the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area. Her work demonstrated that participant-led mapping with Indigenous communities substantially changes the picture of the cultural record. Her findings change the model of an active land use zone.

Dr  Nguyen Khai Huyen Truong-Young

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Tube Housing: An Urban Identity of Saigon-HCMC

Dr Truong-Young examined the effects of tube-housing, an architectural housing design used in Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City. She found that tube-housing proved to be an adaptive and innovative development suitable to people’s everyday modern lifestyles, despite the government’s anti-tube-housing policies. The findings have implications for future high-density living strategies.

Dr Anthony Turner

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Role of Neural Forms of Creativity: Through Painting and Printmaking

Dr Turner's research explores why we make marks in creative practice. His works seeks to understand the complex relationship between creativity, imagination and art through the theory of neural images, a visual library of images with which we are all born and which feeds our processes of communication and creativity.

Dr Karen Twigg

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Along Tyrrell Creek: An Environmental History of a Mallee Community

Dr Twigg examined farmers’ interactions with their environment over time. Although farmers are often depicted as one-dimensional ‘victims’ or ‘villains’, Twigg disrupts such easy generalisations, demonstrating that farmers’ responses to land are frequently adaptive, gendered and intergenerational. Her findings contribute to a more nuanced and complex understanding of farmers’ lives.

Dr Martin White

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Factors That Have Influenced Australian Department of Defence Fuel Sustainability Since 1999

Dr White investigated the isolation, conflation and politicisation that characterized the attitude of the Australian Department of Defence to fuel sustainability. The policymaker approach to military fuel sustainability was consistent with a disjunction between defence policy and operational practice, and an indication of military exceptionalism. The findings provide insights into Australian defence policy since 1999.

Dr Kimberly Young

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: An Exploration of Symbolic Spaces and Spatial Motifs in Dostoevsky's Post-Siberian Fiction: Spatial Possibilites as Moral and Existential Possibilities of Being

Dr Kimberly Young explored the relationship between space and moral and existential choices in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s fiction. She showed that the way a character perceives and inhabits space bears a direct correlation to their existential possibilities. Her research has philosophical implications regarding the intersections between space, moral vision and meaning, at multiple levels of representation and application.

Isabelle Butler

Master of Arts by Research
Thesis title: Connecting "Nature", Culture and the Individual in Jane Eyre and My Brilliant Career

Douglas Hendry

Master of Visual Arts by Research
Thesis title: The Silent and the Screaming: Gestural Apprehensions of Embodiment and Individuation in Skateboarding

Aaron Milburn

Master of Arts by Research
Thesis title: The Rot of Shakespeare's Denmark

College of Science, Health, and Engineering

School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport

Dr DavidCarey

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Modelling Training Loads and Injuries in Australian Football

Dr Carey investigated the relationships between training loads and injuries in Australian football. The research gives recommendations for modelling the complex relationships between training loads and injuries and describes a framework for incorporating injury risk models into training planning. It provides football practitioners with evidence-based tools for injury risk decision making.

Dr KathrynD'Cruz

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Narrative Storytelling Following Acquired Brain Injury: Creating Connections and Exchanging Wisdom Through Sharing Stories of Lived Experience

Dr Kate D’Cruz explored the experience of narrative storytelling for adults with acquired brain injury. The research found sharing personal stories held meaningful occupational purpose, valuing lived experiences of disability. A model of storytelling developed from the study provides a framework for use of storytelling in brain injury rehabilitation.

Dr NatalieFini

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Risk in People Following Stroke

Dr Fini investigated physical activity levels in stroke survivors over two years. She found that physical activity remained low and that activity intensity was associated with important cardiovascular risk factors. These findings will contribute to the development of physical activity programs for the prevention of recurrent stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Dr MatthewKing

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Lower Limb Biomechanics of Football Players with Hip-Related Pain;;

Dr King studied lower-limb biomechanics in football players with and without hip pain. He showed that biomechanical differences between groups were only subtle, and the differences that were present depended upon sex. The findings provide insight into the temporal associations between hip pain and biomechanical impairments.

Dr MargaretPerrott

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Lumbopelvic Stability in Recreational Athletes

Dr Perrott explored movement control of the spine, pelvis and thigh in athletes. Recreational athletes were assessed for good and poor control and the effects of two exercise programs compared. This will provide insight for physiotherapists into the characteristics of exercise programs that could improve movement control.

Dr MargaretSchache

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Effects of Hip Abductor Muscle Strengthening on Long Term Outcomes Following Total Knee Arthroplasty

Dr Schache studied the effects of incorporating specific hip strengthening exercises into rehabilitation after total knee replacement. The research found hip strength, physical function and symptoms improved equally with specific hip exercises or general exercises performed post-operatively. These findings can be used to inform evidence based rehabilitation programs after knee replacement.

School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Dr AmirAnees

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Cybersecurity and Energy Management in the Smart Grid

Dr Anees examined energy management and cybersecurity in electrical smart grids. He found that managing energy consumption pattern of a grid and applying critical data security measures to its data benefited both energy producers and end consumers. These findings provide insights into making the power grid greener, more efficient and reliable, offering a secure way to deliver energy.

Dr Chandima Nilanthi PriyadarshaniGodakanda Arachchige

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Distribution-Free Confidence Intervals for Functions of Quantiles

Dr Godakanda Arachchige conducted her research in the field of robust statistics, introducing confidence intervals for measures of scale and skewness that are functions of linear combinations of quantiles. This will help enable improved interpretations of data, in particular in the presence of extreme values.

Dr Dilanka ShenalDedduwakumara

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Contributions to Estimation and Modeling using Quantiles

Dr Dedduwakumara’s research was conducted in the fields of statistical estimation and modelling using quantiles. He has developed new estimators from limited summary information, parameter estimators of generalised distributions and income inequality estimation. His findings provide novel approaches and insights to the existing body of knowledge on quantile estimation and modelling.

Dr Polwaththa Dilruk DarshanaGallage

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Solutions of 4th-order Evolution Equations in Material Science

Dr Gallage investigated new solutions for dynamical equations of metal surfaces and solid-liquid mixtures that involve higher-order tangency quantities. He found that the solutions predict the thin circular ripples around a laser striking a metal, mixing solid and fluid phases as in a water/ice mushy zone. His findings have implications for metal surface fabrication at the scale of a microchip.

Dr DareenOmari

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Statistical Properties of Non-Linear Functionals of Random Fields

Dr Omari studied non-linear transformations of random fields. His research identified the asymptotic behaviour of these transformations and described their properties. The results provide important guidance for large sample statistical studies and statistical inference.

Dr JodieSmith

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Influence Functions for Dimension Reduction Methods

Dr Smith studied robustness properties of dimension reduction methods used for visualisation of high dimensional data. She created influence diagnostics that can detect problematic observations that can otherwise be difficult to find. The results provide insight into estimator performance in the presence of outliers.

Dr SarathTomy

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Map My Future: An Integrated Framework Using Data Analytics to Enhance the Employability and Entrepreneurship of Information Technology Graduates

Dr Tomy investigated practical methods to enhance the employability and entrepreneurship of information technology graduates. His research proposed an integrated career-oriented framework consisting of systematic models and software applications using data analytics and machine learning strategies. The results show that the framework has a significant positive impact in preparing future-ready graduates.

Dr Christeen IsurindaWijethunga

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Confidence Intervals Constructed by Model Averaging and Bootstrap Smoothing

Dr Wijethunga assessed the performance of confidence intervals constructed by model averaging and bootstrap smoothing. Despite the great hopes placed on such confidence intervals by applied statisticians, particularly in ecology, these intervals are shown to typically perform poorly. These findings point to the need for the development of refinements to these intervals.

School of Life Sciences

Dr NickalaBest

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Improving Biosecurity in Australian Agriculture: The Development, Deployment and Industry Response to Field Based DNA Tests, Using the Sheep Pathogen Dichelobacter nodosus and Footrot as a Disease Model

Dr Best developed and deployed an infield test for virulent footrot in sheep. This molecular test requires no special sample preparation or laboratory training, and detects the DNA of the pathogen causing the disease. The developed test is used in Victoria and South Australia, and gives producers the ability to diagnose diseases easily on-farm.

Dr XueBian

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: A New Frontier for Behavioural Biology: Quantifying the Key Role of Plant Habitats on the Signalling Strategies of Dragons

Dr Bian studied how environments affect motion communications in Australian dragon lizards. By combining 3D technologies with animal, signal and habitat information, she developed an innovative technique to overcome the difficulties of quantifying movements in nature and her findings advanced our current understanding of motion ecology.

Dr NikeishaCaruana

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: A Slimy Situation: Uncovering the Composition and Mechanism of the Slime Secretion from Two Species of Bobtail Squid, Sepioloidea lineolata and Sepiadarium austrinum (Sepiadariidae: Cephalopoda), Using Integrated ‘Omics and Microscopy

Dr Caruana investigated the protein composition of the secretion from two species of Australian bobtail squid. Her research identified putative toxic proteins within the secretion and revealed a novel gland type. The findings contribute to the exploration of marine taxa in Australia, with the potential for the identified proteins to contribute to the development of pharmaceuticals.

Dr KatieCrawford

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Application of Population Genetics to Facilitate Elimination of River Blindness in Africa

Dr Crawford studied the population genetics of the parasitic worm causing river blindness in humans in Africa, and determined the geographic range within which these parasite populations can be transmitted. Her research findings have implications for the long-term elimination of this parasite and the development of new tools for parasite surveillance in the future.

Dr Orsolya TereziaDecker

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Restoration Underground: Context-Dependent Effects of Australian Threatened Digging Mammals on Soil Functions

Dr Decker investigated the impact of native Australian digging mammal extinctions on soil ecology. Her research showed that the disappearance of digging mammals was followed by substantial changes in soil functioning, and the impacts were strongest in resource-limited systems. The findings provide insights into the context-dependent degradation of ecosystem functioning due to species extinctions.

Dr KarmaDorji

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Chloride Accumulation in Grapevine (Vitus) Rootstocks

Dr Dorji compared chloride transport in roots and from roots to shoots among grapevine genotypes. He found that chloride transport to the shoot was related to chloride retention in root cells, root length and surface area. His findings will assist selection of genotypes having low chloride accumulation in grape juice to maintain wine quality.

Dr Geertruida MarielleDrijfhout

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Overabundance in Koalas: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Dr Drijfhout investigated gaps in evidence used to manage overabundant koala populations. Her multidisciplinary research improved our understanding of the ecological factors driving overabundance and people’s opinions of different management options. Dr Drijfhout’s findings will help prevent conflicts about koala management and predict where problems with koalas may arise.

Dr SerpilKucuktepe

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Anti-Obesity Effects of the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitor Captopril - Metabolomics and Transcriptomics Studies

Dr Kucuktepe studied the anti-obesity properties of captopril in mice and C.elegans, an effect that can be reversed by a high-salt diet. She identified the opposing interactions involved differences in the ratios of metabolites in blood and genes in tissues. Her findings provide insights into mechanisms of weight-loss and weight-gain.

Dr ElizabethMathews

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Exploring the Effects of Treatments for Sewer Corrosion on H2S-producing Microbial Communities in an Operational Sewer

Dr Mathews examined the effects of microbial hydrogen sulphide emissions and corrosion treatments within a live sewer. She explored its response to treatments through an ecological understanding of the structure and function of the microbial community. Her findings provide the industry with insights into treatment optimisation, potential candidate sites for novel treatments, and strategies for financial savings and reduced chemical use.

Dr CaraSambell

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Conservation in changing rural landscapes: Responses of bird communities to diverse land-uses and habitats

Dr Sambell studied bird communities across diverse environments in the rural Strzelecki Ranges, Victoria. She found that some forest birds persist in modified landscapes, but bird communities are dynamic and responsive to changes in land-use and habitat. The findings provide important insights to improve biodiversity conservation management in changing rural landscapes, which is an important global challenge.

Dr AnyaShindler

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Developing a Genotyping Panel for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in Autism

Dr Shindler studied the prevalence of gastrointestinal dysfunction and autism. She determined how genetic biomarkers for gastrointestinal dysfunction and autism medications can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal dysfunction. These findings will aid in the future development of a diagnostic test for GI dysfunction.

Dr LauraWoodings

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Population Genetics and Connectivity of the Eastern Rock Lobster, Sagmariasus verreauxi

Dr Woodings examined the genetic structure, population connectivity, and adaptive potential of the commercially important Eastern Rock Lobster. She determined that the adult population is a single, highly connected genetic stock, while multiple drivers create fine-scale genetic structure in the post-larvae. Her findings will help to inform management strategies for the Eastern Rock Lobster commercial fishery.

Dr ShahinYazdifar

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Effects of Heat Stress on Pollen Development and The Regulation of Pollen Development by Two Aspartic Proteases in Arabidopsis thaliana

Dr Yazdifar examined how pollen development is regulated by two aspartic enzymes in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The research identified how heat stress disrupts pollen development and reduces grain yield, and produces a novel molecular mechanism that regulates early response to heat stress. His research findings may contribute to the breeding of heat tolerant crops.

Dr ChangyuYi

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Natural Variation in the Response of Arabidopsis thaliana to a Low Phosphorus Environment

Dr Yi studied how plants adapt to a low phosphorus environment. Since lack of phosphorus causes considerable reduction of crop yield, he identified key regulatory genes which control nutrient uptake in plants to combat this problem. His findings provide insights into developing crops with higher yield and improved tolerance to phosphorus starvation.

School of Molecular Sciences

Dr SureshBanjara

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Cell Death Inhibition by Large Double Stranded DNA Viruses

Dr Banjara studied how viruses hijack a defence mechanism used by the host that triggers premature death of virus infected host cells. By mimicking important host proteins that keep host cells alive, viruses are able to evade immune defences and successfully replicate, thus causing systemic infections. His findings revealed the structures of viral disease-causing proteins at atomic resolution and provide a road map to exploit the unique features of these proteins to design new therapeutic strategies against viral diseases.

Dr ZhipengCao

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Identification and Characterisation of Biomarkers and Factors Involved in Cancer Cachexia

Dr Cao investigated potential biomarkers to diagnose cancer cachexia, a wasting disease for which there is no cure. He identified and characterised several circulating biomarkers predictive presentation of cachexia in animal models and cancer patients. The findings provide a valuable tool for clinical diagnosis of cancer cachexia.

Dr JieruDeng

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Influenza A Virus Infection Induces Macroautophagy and MHC Class II-Restricted Endogenous Antigen Presentation

Dr Deng studied the endogenous processing of the Influenza A virus (IAV) antigen and its presentation during IAV infection. She determined that IAV infection-induced autophagy activity facilitates endogenous IAV antigen presentation by MHC-II to CD4+ T cells. Her findings potentially reshape our thinking on endogenous IAV antigen presentation and have potential implications for the design of future influenza vaccines.

Dr Aileen YowareshEyou

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Quantitative Absorption Tomography Using Polychromatic X-rays

Dr Eyou developed a novel absorption tomography technique which makes it possible for laboratory-based X-ray sources to be used in critical quantitative applications. The technique is quantitative, precise, and free from major systematic errors. The outcomes provide an opportunity in many industrial and medical applications.

Dr JodyGerdts

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Investigating the Host-Pathogen Relationship Between Apis mellifera and Ascosphaera apis in Australia

Dr Gerdts studied the host-pathogen relationship between European honey bees and the fungal pathogen Ascosphaera apis. Her research identified potential reasons why this disease has such a significant impact on the Australian apiculture industry, and advances knowledge about honey bee health essentials to meet future pollination demands and provide food security.

Dr MiaojuanHuang

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Characterising Novel Human CD8+ Cell Responses to Influenza A Virus

Dr Huang studied CD8+ T cells, a killer cell in our body that kills infected cells or cancer cells. She determined how broad-based CD8+ T cell response to flu virus through a novel enrichment method she developed. Her research provides insights into future flu vaccine design.

Dr RuitaoJin

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Molecular Mechanism of the Switch for Progesterone/Spironolactone from Mineralocorticoid Receptor Agonist to Antagonist

Dr Jin studied the mechanism of two closely related hormone therapeutics with opposing effects. Using computational modelling techniques, he illustrated how a small change in the target of these therapeutics can alter its effects. These findings have important implications for future drug design.

Dr ChuanxinLiu

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Investigation of Neutrophils' Role During Influenza A Virus Infection

Dr Liu studied neutrophils, the most abundant white blood cell, during influenza infection. He demonstrated that neutrophils play diverse roles in shaping up immune defence as well as causing immune pathology. The findings may allow us to develop neutrophil-centric strategies to prevent or treat severe influenza infection.

Dr MahsaSaeedi Maleki

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Low-Cost Electrochemical and Electrochemiluminescence Based Sensing Using Mobile Devices

Dr Saeedi Maleki studied instrument-free chemical analysis and paper-based based sensors, with a focus on portability, affordability and ease-of-use. She developed several sensors, including an on-site method for heavy metals which requires only a mobile phone and a disposable test strip. Her findings provide important insights into the future development of low-cost sensors for use in resource-poor environments.

Dr AlyceMayfosh

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Characterisation of Heparanase in Natural Killer Cell Function

Dr Mayfosh explored the role of a protein called heparinase in a type of immune cell called natural killer cells. She found that heparinase is important for natural killer cell function, particularly in controlling tumour growth and metastasis. These findings provide new strategies for the development of cancer therapies.

Dr RobertSikos

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Exploring ToF-SIMS Data Analysis with Spectral Binning Using Multivariate Analysis and Machine Learning

Dr Sikos has developed new machine learning approaches for understanding highly complex surface mass spectrometry data sets. His findings have facilitated rapid classification of very similar polymer types and the development of high performance bioassays for pathogens. His research has advanced the theoretical understanding of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry.

Dr PramodSubedi

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Investigating the Mechanisms to Fold Disulfide Bond Containing Virulence Factors in Salmonella

Dr Subedi studied the diversity of disulfide bond forming machineries in the Salmonella Typhimurium pathogen. He found that multiple disulfide bond enzymes in Salmonella resist destruction by defence mechanisms of its host, which contributes to its bacterial fitness and survival. His findings may inform future strategies for developing disulfide bond inhibitors to combat multidrug-resistant bacterial infections.

Mwilye Sikanyika

Master of Science by Research
Thesis title: Investigation of the Roles of Cytoplasmic Enzymes in Zinc Toxicity to the Pathogenic Organism Streptococcus pneumoniae

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Dr CarolBaines

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: A Comparison of Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring and Intermittent Finger-Prick Glucose Monitoring with Serum Glucose Levels in Patients Who Have Diabetes Under Hyperbaric Conditions

Dr Baines explored blood glucose management in patients who are undertaking hyperbaric treatment. The research identified several ways patients manage their blood glucose, and explored contemporary equipment used for this specific task. The findings of the study will enhance patient care in the hyperbaric environment.

Dr SineadBarry

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: A Phenomenographic Exploration of Undergraduate Nursing Student's Understandings of Mental Health

Dr Barry explored the variation in nursing students’ understandings of mental health. The findings provide insights into the complex nature of student learning and contributes new knowledge in nursing education, teaching and learning. These findings encourage innovations in mental health education to support students in this important area of healthcare.

Dr KateDawson

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Exploring the Implementation, Expansion and Sustainability of Caseload Midwifery in the Public Sector in Australia

Dr Dawson examined caseload midwifery through a national study. She found that the caseload model was highly valued by managers and midwives and that there was support and capacity to increase the availability of this model throughout Australia. Her findings provide important evidence for the national maternity strategy, which calls for increased access to caseload.

Dr JuliaGilbert

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Nurses' Perceptions of Quality Nursing Care in Dementia Specific Care Units

Dr Gilbert examined nurses’ perceptions of quality nursing care in the Dementia Specific Union. Through her Grounded Theory, she found that nurses perceive quality nursing care in the Dementia Specific Care Unit to be person centred, timely, skilled, supported and rewarding. Her findings provide valuable insights into quality nursing care for nurses, Governments and aged care providers.

Dr Beatriz Paulina Ayala Quintanilla

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Impact of Violence Against Women on Severe Acute Maternal Morbidity

Dr Ayala Quintanilla studied women who survived pregnancy complications that required admission to an intensive care unit. She demonstrated that life-threatening pregnancy complications were associated with partner abuse. This suggests a more severe impact of partner abuse on the pregnant woman than has been previously found and warrants further research.

School of Psychology and Public Health

Dr DeenaEbaid

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Age-Related Changes in Cognitive Processing

Dr Ebaid studied the cognitive aging process in healthy educated adults from a systems neuroscience viewpoint. Her combined findings have greatly expanded understanding into speed of information processing and functional behaviour in healthy aging. Her findings also provide new perspectives in relation to assessment of cognition and biological limitations underlying areas of cognitive aging.

Dr PamelaGarton

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Applying a Structured Biopsychosocial Approach to Achieve Improved Workplace Rehabilitation for Musculoskeletal Injury

Dr Garton examined the application of the Biopsychosocial Model within compensable Injury Management. She has tested a comprehensive and structured approach using biopsychosocial domains to guide tailored self-help skills coaching. The findings provide new insights into the challenges and potential solutions for improved work injury outcomes.

Dr RachaelHeckenberg

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: A Prospective Assessment of the Relationships between Workplace Stress, Trait Mindfulness and Physiological Indices of Stress in Direct-care Workers: A Mixed-methods Investigation with a Mindfulness-based Intervention

Dr Heckenberg investigated the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions and relationships between workplace stress, disposition and physiological indices of stress. She showed that mindfulness-based interventions are effective and trait mindfulness and empathy are protective factors against lowered immunity. Her research provides insight into the workplace stress to ill-health relationship.

Dr Pece Kocovski

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: The Pathological and Molecular Basis of Anxiety-like Behaviour in the Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) Model of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Dr Kocovski investigated multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease targeting the brain. He demonstrated that platelets, which are tiny blood particles, drive disease development and trigger early symptoms such as anxiety. These findings support the concept that platelets are a novel therapeutic target for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

Dr JamunaParajuli

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Barriers to Accessing Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening: A Qualitative Study of Bhutanese Refugee Women in Australia

Dr Parajuli interviewed 30 Bhutanese refugee women who had resettled in Melbourne after nearly two decades in refugee camps in Nepal. She identified barriers to accessing cervical and breast cancer screening including ‘symptoms based’ health-seeking and the need for greater awareness among health professionals to meet refugee women’s health needs.

Dr AspasiaRabba

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Family Wellbeing Following a Child's Early Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dr Rabba examined family wellbeing following a child’s early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. She developed the Family Support Program, a supportive post-diagnosis intervention for parents. The findings identified parents’ key needs and provided insights into risk and protective factors associated with family wellbeing, and hence family resilience at this critical time.

Dr RenaShrestha

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Identifying Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Nepal: Implementing and Evaluating Social Attention and Communication Surveillance

Dr Shrestha implemented a developmental monitoring approach to identify young children with autism in Nepal by training local community health workers. She established that low rates of community understanding of autism are substantial barriers to early identification. Her research showed that community-based developmental monitoring is feasible in promoting early identification and diagnosis of autism.

Dr JamesShulman

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Attachment Theory and Romantic Relationships: Physical Attractiveness, Attachment Style and the Influence on Attraction and Partner Preference

Dr Shulman investigated how people’s attachment style and physical attractiveness can influence their preferences when choosing a relationship partner. The findings provide insights into the real life decision making that impacts why different people may choose different types of relationship partners.

Dr AnneWilliams

Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis title: Discovering Ways to Keep Life on Track: A Grounded Theory Study of Consumers and Workers Jointly Using an E-mental Health Resource in Community Mental Health

Dr Williams explored the novel experience of mental health consumers and workers jointly using e-mental health resources. She found that using a website together supported consumers and workers to discover a shared understanding of the consumer’s life, self-management and personal recovery. The findings have international implications for future developments in e-mental health.