Research Engagement and ImpactECR Spotlight - Dr Ben Lewis

Early Bird
Ben and Dr Ian Henry, Leader of the Scientific Computing Facility at Max Planck Institute, investigating the structure of a new promising anticancer target generated by Ben in the MPI-CBG 3D virtual reality cave.

Taking the next step in his research career is what Dr Ben Lewis achieved by successfully applying for a 2018 Senior Research Fellowship in Medicine at the Technische Universität Dresden (Technical University of Dresden, TUD), Germany.

Only three Senior Research Fellows in Medicine were awarded in 2018, and of the 25 Senior Research Fellowships awarded by TUD in 2018, only three were from Australia.

Ben's interests are focused on using the 3-dimensional (3D) structure and chemical composition of enzymes to understand drug metabolism and to develop new drugs. As a Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer researcher, Ben is devoted to researching the biochemical and molecular processes involved in the initiation and progression of cancer and how these processes can be targeted for the design of new anticancer agents.

"I’ve been extremely fortunate to form a number of key collaborations at the Carl Gustav Carus University hospital and the Max Plank Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics [MPI-CBG], one of which has opened up a further collaboration in Italy with the Department of Experimental Medicine at the University of Perugia, from my time spent in Dresden," said Ben.

"I have already submitted one research grant with my German colleagues, but my real aim is to secure large Commonwealth funding through the NHMRC and secure some internal Flinders funding so I can establish a 'Structural Biology and Molecular Targets Laboratory'.”

Ben has published 40 articles, comprising 762 citations, with a h-index of 14. His principal areas of interest are breast cancer, prostate cancer, and metastatic melanoma research in addition to characterising the structure-function relationships of drug metabolizing enzymes.

 

Ben Lewis and colleagues
(Left to Right): Dr Ben Lewis, Prof Peter Spieth (Anesthesiology and Intensive Care; TUD), Assoc Prof Roman Rodionov (Internal Medicine and Angiology; TUD), and Prof Norbert Weiss (Director TUD Centre for Vascular Medicine)

Dr Ben Lewis

Dr Ben Lewis is a medical researcher at Flinders University whose interests are focused on developing innovative methods of drug therapy, including a gene directed pro-drug therapy model for targeted cancer treatment. Ben has been an integral part of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Flinders University since 2002 with his research focussed on the molecular determinants of diversity in drug and chemical metabolism. Ben completed his PhD in 2011 under the supervision of Flinders' Professor John Miners and was successively awarded a Flinders University Research Fellowship.

T: 8204 4031
E: ben.lewis@flinders.edu.au
Campus: Flinders Medical Centre
College: Medicine and Public Health
Role: Lecturer/researcher in Pharmacology

 

This is a feature for Inspiring Research where we profile Flinders’ Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in our ECR Spotlight. This initiative appears regularly and aims to connect our research community and strengthen research communications within the University. You will get insight into who our ECRs are and how their research and achievements are making a difference.

The featured ECRs welcome dialogue, debate, and conversation and we hope that it may shape future intra-, inter- and/or trans-disciplinary collaboration with Flinders’ colleagues. Please feel free to comment on their spotlight, and/or contact them directly. Also, you can contact the ECR Spotlight coordinator, Dr Marina Delpin, with your queries and comments.

Research Engagement and ImpactImpact Seed Funding – supporting our Flinders ECRs – Dr David Smith

Bayesian Experimental design

Inspiring Research is profiling recipients of the inaugural Flinders University Impact Seed Funding Grants – awarded July 2018.

Today we’re meeting Dr David Smith, College of Medicine and Public Health, and highlighting aspects of his research project "Conceptualising and quantifying psychological treatment pathways for borderline personality disorder: a Bayesian network approach".

David’s project aims to innovatively use a Bayesian Network approach on effective Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) psychological treatment pathways.

BPD is a serious mental illness that can cause a lot of suffering. There is a desperate need for development of best care pathways for up to 68,000 South Australians with the debilitating psychiatric disorder.

The network would describe how states of BPD such as symptoms, environmental, and social factors are related by probabilities to potential treatment outcomes. This tool would support decision analysis for mental health clinicians working in the community and hospital emergency departments.

 

Flinders University Impact Seed Funding Grants provide an opportunity for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to develop their careers and enable key research projects or promotion of research outcomes. Flinders University has partnered with our community of donors to provide the opportunity for ECRs to receive financial support to develop and fortify their skill sets. Our supporters want to make a difference by building our researchers’ capacity and capabilities to make a positive impact. Please contact Dr Marina Delpin if you wish to know more about this initiative.

Research Engagement and ImpactResearch Roundup - 29 November 2018

Proactively Supporting our Research

Did you miss these news items on research from the Flinders' Newsdesk?

French opportunities gain momentum - Flinders’ French connections were strengthened with the signing of a new agreement on 23 November 2018, which expanded the University’s growing list of French academic partnerships providing students and researchers with fantastic opportunities for cross-country placements and projects.

 

Corneal graft expert honoured for visionary work - Flinders University’s Professor Keryn Williams has been honoured as an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), which works to improve eye healthcare in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific. She received this honour at the organisation’s annual conference, which was held in Adelaide from November 17-21 on the occasion of the college’s 50th anniversary.

 

Manufacturing milestone for ‘clean’ super-strength carbon - Commercial manufacturing of one of the world’s strongest materials has taken a decisive step forward with SA-based nano-science company 2D Fluidics filing another PCT Patent application on thin-film processing of high quality graphene oxide and other novel nanomaterials.

 

Defence Innovation Partnership to boost SA research - From developing artificial intelligence for Australia’s Future Submarines to determining whole-of-health diagnosis for defence vehicles, Flinders University researchers are at the forefront of innovative new defence projects being supported by the injection of fresh funding.

 

Research focus on late termination pregnancy - Framing recommendations about policy and practices concerning the late termination of pregnancy in South Australia will be the focus of Dr Prudence Flowers, who has been selected as the 2018 Catherine Helen Spence Scholarship recipient.

 

Optimistic SA environmental report card issued - South Australia’s greatest environmental challenges are managing people, their choices and behaviours rather than scientific measures to ensure greater biodiversity conservation. This is the assessment of Professor Corey Bradshaw, the Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology, and a key contributor to the 2018 EPA State of the Environment report (SA), which was launched on Monday 19 November.

 

Heat under your feet identifies water flow - Groundwater flow from aquifers to rivers, lakes and the ocean affects the productivity and diversity of aquatic ecosystems – but accurately measuring water movement below the soil is difficult for aquatic scientists and water resources engineers.

 

Funding for pancreatic cancer trial - Flinders University researchers have been awarded funding to run a clinical trial of a new pancreatic cancer treatment.

 

Dolphin research informs marine planning - The Coffin Bay dolphins off South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula mainly live in the shallow waters close to the coast and oyster farms – and outside the declared conservation sanctuary zones.

 

 

If you have some exciting research news to share, please contact the Newsdesk at newsdesk@flinders.edu.au or us at inspiring.research@flinders.edu.au.

Research Engagement and ImpactImpact Seed Funding – supporting our Flinders ECRs – Dr Lua Perimal-Lewis

female hands gently cupped around male cupped hands beside a CAREGIVER word cloud on a rustic stone background

Inspiring Research is profiling recipients of the inaugural Flinders University Impact Seed Funding Grants – awarded July 2018.

Today we’re meeting Dr Lua Perimal-Lewis, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and highlighting aspects of her research project "Empowering caregivers of people with mild cognitive impairment or early stage dementia".

Lua’s project aims to better understand the needs of caregivers assisting individuals with mild cognitive impairment or early stage dementia, within the ageing-in-place care ecosystem to better support Information and Communication Technology (ICT) interventions.

Ageing-in-place is the ability to stay independently and safely in one’s choice of residence for as long as possible. The ageing-in-place care ecosystem consist of caregivers, their community/neighbourhood and their physical environment. ICT interventions require ‘being & doing’ on the part of the person receiving the intervention as well as support and empowerment from caregivers to be successful.

To best facilitate this, Lua's project will provide a body of knowledge and insight into the care ecosystem associated with empowering people to comply with ICT intervention protocol. With this underpinning resource, the future success of ICT interventions can be achieved, assisting not just the older adults with mild cognitive impairment, but also any caregivers assisting them.

Lua’s research into fending off the early stages of dementia was recently featured on Channel 7 News.

 

 

In addition to being awarded a 2018 Impact Seed Grant, Lua is also a 2018 recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Early Career Researchers.

 

Flinders University Impact Seed Funding Grants provide an opportunity for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to develop their careers and enable key research projects or promotion of research outcomes. Flinders University has partnered with our community of donors to provide the opportunity for ECRs to receive financial support to develop and fortify their skill sets. Our supporters want to make a difference by building our researchers’ capacity and capabilities to make a positive impact. Please contact Dr Marina Delpin  if you wish to know more about this initiative.

Research Engagement and ImpactResearch Roundup - 15 November 2018

Proactively Supporting our Research

Did you miss these news items on research from the Flinders' Newsdesk?

Losing species to climate change causes global ‘extinction domino effect’ - New research reveals the extinction of plant or animal species from extreme environmental change increases the risk of an “extinction domino effect’”that could annihilate all life on Earth.

 

Aboriginal youth health boost with major award - Research to tackle the dual challenges of sexually transmitted disease and illicit drug use in indigenous communities will be boosted with the awarding of a significant fellowship to Flinders University Associate Professor James Ward, one of the nation’s leading indigenous health researchers.

 

Low-cost tsunami warning could prevent future deaths - A simple and low-cost early warning system could help prevent deaths in regions vulnerable to tsunamis after successful trials in Vanuatu last month.

 

First genetic testing for weighty issue - Lipoedema is a painful fat condition that affects more than one in 10 mainly women in Australia.

 

Super-fast flying machines defy body logic - The size of a tiny insect brain bears no comparison to the super capacity of its killer instinct and flying skills and speed.

 

Healthy Minds rollout stems from psych research - One thousand adolescents across Australia will participate in a trial designed to prevent and reduce the risk of depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

 

Grants focus on rapid health benefits - Saving Indigenous babies, speeding access to support for people with severe mental illnesses, and stemming the disease burden in southern suburbs – these initiatives will be assisted from research to reality after winning Medical Research Future Fund grants.

 

Elite sports hydration drink off and running - The new range of hydration-boosting drinks developed at Flinders University has gone on the market.

 

Beauty counts at the ballot box - Good-looking candidates take a handy premium to the ballot box, according to new research.

 

Money stress for 1 in 5 with cancer - On top of worrying about treatments and side effects, many people with cancer also worry about the cost of their care.

 

 

If you have some exciting research news to share, please contact the Newsdesk at newsdesk@flinders.edu.au or us at inspiring.research@flinders.edu.au.

Research Engagement and ImpactFlinders research from an undergraduate class to a record breaking swim attempt

Great White Shark by Andrew Fox
Great White Shark
Credit: Andrew Fox / Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions

What is the best way to understand and try to mitigate the risks of swimming all the way across the Pacific Ocean? Misinformation around shark attacks, one of the risks of long distance ocean swimming, is pervasive.

The best way is to seek out information from an expert in the area, which is exactly what Ben Lecomte’s international citizen science team did with Associate Professor Charlie Huveneers, leader of the Southern Shark Ecology Group, College of Science and Engineering.

Ben is currently undertaking ‘The Swim’ an extensive long distance swim across the Pacific Ocean.  He and his team were concerned about managing shark attack risk during the swim. Coincidently, a member of his team is the sister of a Flinders undergraduate student enrolled in a topic taught by Charlie.

Charlie integrates his research and findings into his lectures enabling the student to share this knowledge with his sister. When Ben’s team discussed the risks of possible shark attack, she made the team aware of Charlie and his research and the US-based team got in touch. Charlie was able to advise on species likely to be sighted and whether they were potentially dangerous; and what devices have been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of shark attack.

By helping Ben’s team to better understand the risk of shark attacks and how to mitigate those risks, I hope that others will learn that the risk of having a negative encounter with a shark is extremely small (even when spending many hours in the water every day), but that if risks need to be reduced, it is important to use devices that have been scientifically shown to reduce risks of being bitten,” said Charlie.

Charlie and his research were an integral part of an episode of "The Swim" - the digital series from leading online science publisher, Seeker that is capturing Lecomte's journey - ‘This is the Only Proven Way to Deter a Great White Shark’

This research was first released in May 2018 and within days the Western Australian government included the recommended deterrent to their personal shark deterrent rebate program.

In 1998, Ben became the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean in 73 days, raising funds for cancer research. In this new swim, he is raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and its impact on the state of our oceans, while also taking samples and data, including dropping a hydrophone into the ocean each night to create the first sound postcard of the Pacific Ocean.

Working with Ben and his team, Seeker has a dedicated website where his swim can be tracked and recurring short-form video updates are released via the website, Facebook and YouTube through Seeker.

Seeker is a digital media network (youtube, facebook and their own website) that brings science, technology and culture stories to young audiences. Seeker originally was created as part of the Discovery, Inc. A feature length documentary on The Swim is planned to be released in 2019 in partnership with Nomadica Films.

Research Engagement and ImpactResearch Roundup - 1 November 2018

Proactively Supporting our Research

Did you miss these news items on research from the Flinders' Newsdesk?

Exploring new research links in France - Six new grants will support research collaborations in France ranging from colonial exploration in the Pacific to an exchange of Flinders University expertise in groundwater management.

 

Review of child abuse systems in SA - Social work experts at Flinders will lead a major new review of South Australian child protection systems to tackle child abuse and neglect.

 

When did hunters kill off Madagascar megafauna? - Prehistory hunters on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar are thought responsible for the eventual extinction of megafauna such as giant lemurs, hippos and elephant birds.

 

Exchange of new ideas with France - Leading French and Australian researchers have met in Paris to discuss the future of industry innovation.

 

Innovation award for MND crusader - Mary-Louise Rogers’ quest to beat the scourge of Motor Neurone Disease has seen her named one of South Australia’s 2018 ‘Winnovation’ winners.

 

Clues to earlier diagnosis of deadly lung disease - Flinders researchers have found proteins in lung fluid that could hold the key to diagnosing pleural mesothelioma months or even years before a tumour is visible on imaging scans.

 

 

 

If you have some exciting research news to share, please contact the Newsdesk at newsdesk@flinders.edu.au or us at inspiring.research@flinders.edu.au.

Research Engagement and ImpactECR Spotlight - Dr Bev Rogers

Rethinking the teaching with international students

The Masters of Education (Leadership and Management) attracts a significant number of International students. They travel to Australia for two years, usually with a deeply held desire to learn about how they might improve the lives of colleagues, and communities, in some way, when they return home.

Four years ago, when teaching within that program, I began to question the assumed unproblematic nature of the presentation of Western leadership and management theories/models to diverse students without understanding the diversity.

As it turns out, the expectations, by International students, that overseas study is designed to facilitate the transport of Western theory to their country, as the solution, makes the indigenous knowledge they bring, struggle to appear. Few students question transferability, yet the transference of Western-based theories may actually be of limited value to the real concerns and issues associated with the management of organisations in other countries and other cultures.

Over the last four years, I have redesigned a topic within the Masters of Education (Leadership and Management) course through a number of phases of both conceptual and pedagogical research, which builds on the ideas of Raewyn Connell (Southern Theory) and the Portuguese intellectual and sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos (abyssal thinking, cognitive justice and intercultural translation).

Santos (2016) argues that, in aiming to transform the world in some way, we benefit from a diversity of perspectives, which exceeds a limited Western understanding of the world. Rather than subscribing to a single, universal and abstract hierarchy among knowledges, cognitive justice favours context dependent hierarchies of knowledges.

For International students to contemplate social transformation in their home country, we need to prepare the ground for students thinking about the knowledges they bring, and the importance of unique contextual and cultural factors. Such a dialogue with students, learns from local knowledges without conferring lower status because of differences and the assumption of one universal Western worldview. Intercultural translation allows for dialogue and interpretations across cultures, at the same time as raising the awareness of reciprocal incompleteness of knowledges –“one foot in one culture and the other in another” (Santos, 2016, p. 219). Through such a dialogue, non-Western and indigenous understandings have a place and a voice.

To read about the topic re-design and future plans, exploring cognitive justice and rethinking the teaching of educational leadership with International students, please see my paper which was published in the Journal Studies in Continuing Education.

 

Bev Rogers

Dr Bev Rogers

Dr Bev Rovers is a Lecturer in Leadership and Management within the Masters of Education program at Flinders University. Bev was previously a secondary principal in both country and disadvantaged areas of Adelaide, and Director of Teaching and Learning within the Department of Education and Child Development, prior to joining Flinders University in 2014. Her research interest is in rethinking and challenging current dominant and culturally limited Western models of educational leadership. Her current research focuses on the impacts of professional learning on leaders’ practice and exploring culturally sensitive leadership interactions in diverse contexts.

T: 8201 3445
E: bev.rogers@flinders.edu.au
Campus: Bedford Park
College: Education, Psychology and Social Work
Role: Lecturer/researcher in Educational Leadership

This is a feature for Inspiring Research where we profile Flinders’ Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in our ECR Spotlight. This initiative appears regularly and aims to connect our research community and strengthen research communications within the University. You will get insight into who our ECRs are and how their research and achievements are making a difference.

The featured ECRs welcome dialogue, debate, and conversation and we hope that it may shape future intra-, inter- and/or trans-disciplinary collaboration with Flinders’ colleagues. Please feel free to comment on their spotlight, and/or contact them directly. Also, you can contact the ECR Spotlight coordinator, Dr Marina Delpin, with your queries and comments.

Research Engagement and ImpactFlinders researchers trip to Germany on bringing science to market

Dr Andrew Vakulin, Dr Lynda Norton, Robert Trott, and Dr Sinead O'Connell (left to right)
Dr Andrew Vakulin, Dr Lynda Norton, Robert Trott, and Dr Sinead O'Connell (left to right)

How can one access and share international perspectives on how to bring science to market in a face-to-face forum? Flinders researchers and staff had this opportunity at the 6th International Summer School on Technology Transfer in Life Sciences, Dresden, Germany, 17 to 21 September.

Flinders’ Dr Sinead O’Connell, Dr Lynda Norton, Dr Andrew Vakulin and PhD students Robert Trott and Ahmed Alshehri, participated in the Summer School that focused on preparing researchers for the technology transfer process.

Experts in intellectual property, business, marketing, technology transfer and fund raising helped participants identify the innovative potential in their research and provided valuable insight into the various ways that inventions in the Life Sciences could be brought to the market.

Sinead presented two lectures on pitching to investors and negotiation, and drew on her 10 years’ experience working in technology transfer at Flinders.

Lynda presented the Exercise Science Toolkit(EST), an online software program incorporating a suite of ~40 interactive analytical, graphing and application tools for exercise and health science students and allied health professionals.

The EST was designed to facilitate opportunities to conduct analyses on empirical data collected in laboratories or in clinical practice and also has the capacity to generate an unlimited supply of virtual people (VP) in real-time simulations, designed specifically for distance or online programs.

“Participating in this Summer School provided invaluable exposure to business and marketing expertise on how to get your technology beyond the development stage and into the commercial market. This should be a core component of PhD programs,” said Lynda.

Andrew described his research in Sleep Disorders and his recent work with industry partners to develop online sleep health decision support algorithms and systems. Sleep problems and disorders have an enormous health burden on the community and these novel online technologies will help to screen, identify and provide tailored solutions for sleep disorder sufferers.

“The sleep health decision support algorithms have broader applications in clinical and operational settings, including the shift work industry, transportation, health insurers and defence,” said Andrew.

A bioengineering sensor designed by Robert was one of six Life Science technologies put through the incubator process during the week-long forum. This novel angle sensor has been designed for use in a Controller in Stroke Rehabilitation Robotics. The angle sensor improves on existing devices by offering an ultra-compact form factor while preserving accuracy. The controller seeks to improve Gait Rehabilitation outcomes following stroke.

In Australia, there are approximately 50,000 new cases of stroke each year and currently, around 400,000 stroke survivors. Globally there are 17 million new stroke cases annually, of which a third will result in death. The remainder will experience varying symptoms affecting numerous cognitive and motor faculties, and 80% of survivors will experience some unilateral weakness. In particular, paralysis of one leg profoundly limits participation in activities of daily living and is the single post-stroke deficit with the greatest impact on quality of life. It is hoped Robert’s sensor will assist those affected.

Research Engagement and ImpactMelbourne and Canberra fellowships advance research and leadership skills for Flinders researcher

Cassandra Star

Cassandra Star has been awarded a Fellowship and a Scholarship to assist in advancing her research and leadership skills. The ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship Mentoring Scheme at the University of Melbourne targets outstanding early career female researchers in the humanities and social sciences to complete an intensive mentoring programme.

The programme involves workshops on all aspects of developing, sustaining and enhancing leadership in a research career and is run by Professor Joy Damousi, University of Melbourne.

Cassandra said, “The programme provides an excellent opportunity to work with other outstanding female scholars and build on my research leadership skills. Such programs are rare in Australian higher education and of great value to female researchers.”

Following on from this programme, Cassandra will be a visiting fellow at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2018 at the Centre for the Study of Australian Politics (CSAP). “My visit to CSAP will advance and expand my ongoing project on environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs),” said Cassandra.

This project aims to analyse the climate politics of ENGOs in Australia, investigating the strategies, tactics and foci of current ENGO climate campaigns in the Australian context, and their efficacy within the policy arena. Arising from this larger project has been a smaller sub-project, analysing the role of class and gender within the environment movement, with particular implications for the political voice and ongoing commitment of young female activists. This will be the focus of her time at ANU.

While at ANU, Cassandra will also undertake project fieldwork, including interviewing climate activists located in the ACT from a myriad of organisations (e.g., the Australia Institute, the Canberra Environment Centre, Climate Action Canberra, Conservation Council ACT, FossilFreeANU, See-Change, AYCC and 350.org). She will also deliver a HDR masterclass/workshop on research ethics in fieldwork with NGOs.

Research Engagement and ImpactImpact Seed Funding – supporting our Flinders ECRs - Dr Linlin Ma

Gold nanoparticles and red blood cells travelling through an artery

Inspiring Research will be profiling recipients of the inaugural Flinders University Impact Seed Funding Grants – awarded July 2018.

Today we’re meeting Dr Linlin Ma, College of Medicine and Public Health, and highlighting aspects of her research project "Targeting hEAG1 channel with gold nanoparticles for diagnostic imaging and targeted treatment of colorectal cancer".

Linlin’s project aims to develop the potassium ion channel hEAG1 as a biomarker for gold nanoparticle -based diagnostic imaging and targeted chemotherapeutic treatment for Colorectal cancer (CRC). As CRC is well known for its very low chemotherapy success rate and acquired resistance, any new method of improving this success rate would be welcomed.

CRC is the third most frequently diagnosed malignancy and the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The global burden of CRC is expected to increase by 60% to more than 2.2 million new cases and 1.1 million deaths by 2030. It is particularly a problem in Australia/New Zealand, as we have the highest morbidity in the world. The current treatments rely on surgery and chemotherapy and are a considerable burden for patients physically, psychologically and economically.

Moreover, a rising incidence of CRC in younger individuals has opened an urgent need for non-invasive screening methods with improved accuracy to substitute the inaccurate stool test and the invasive colonoscopy. Nanoparticle-based technologies are considered a promising strategy with the potential to revolutionise cancer diagnosis and treatments. Impact Seed Grant funding will enable testing of the feasibility of the idea and generate solid preliminary data, and, in doing so, showcase the huge potential of the novel approach for further explorations for cancer treatment and survivability.

Linlin will be working with her research mentor Professor Ross McKinnon, College of Medicine and Public Health, who will provide expertise in molecular oncology and bring a broad knowledge of cancer research to the project. As the project is multidisciplinary, integrating the research fields of ion channel biology, nanotechnology, and molecular oncology, Linlin will also be collaborating with nanotechnology researchers Professor Joe Shapter and Associate Professor Ingo Koper, Flinders’ College of Science and Engineering.

 

Flinders University Impact Seed Funding Grants provide an opportunity for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to develop their careers and enable key research projects or promotion of research outcomes. Flinders University has partnered with our community of donors to provide the opportunity for ECRs to receive financial support to develop and fortify their skill sets. Our supporters want to make a difference by building our researchers’ capacity and capabilities to make a positive impact. Please contact Dr Marina Delpin  if you wish to know more about this initiative.

Research Engagement and ImpactResearch Roundup - 18 October 2018

Proactively Supporting our Research

Did you miss these news items on research from the Flinders' Newsdesk?

Climate change gave roos an evolutionary jump - Surprising new findings by Flinders University researchers have changed scientific understanding of how kangaroo evolution was linked to environmental change over the past 12 million years.

 

Waste oil adds energy to plant fertiliser - A new type of slow-release fertiliser that results in better plant health and fewer wasted nutrients has been invented by Flinders University ‘green chemistry’ researchers.

 

Accolade for leader in clinical pharmacology - A key player in improving drug therapies, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor John Miners, has been made a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

 

Bee-autiful photos put focus on native insects - Dramatic photos by Flinders natural sciences researcher James Dorey put a spotlight on an estimated 2000-3000 species of bees in Australia.

 

Paper and iPad best for children’s literacy - Young children are fluent in both new and older technologies such as books, blocks and crayons but school systems still favour traditional print-based literacy practices and resources such as paper and pencils.

 

Appetite for more than food charity - As food prices rise, and families struggle to pay the bills, people who receive emergency food relief are very grateful but crave long-term ways to rise above the poverty line – including through innovative social enterprise programs.

 

 

 

If you have some exciting research news to share, please contact the Newsdesk at newsdesk@flinders.edu.au or us at inspiring.research@flinders.edu.au.

Research Engagement and ImpactHow can Australian innovation create new industries and jobs?

light bulb on yellow background

With the downturn of traditional manufacturing, most notably the closure of automotive firms in Australia, innovation is crucial to create new industries and jobs of the future. Economic complexity, or the ability to make competitive products that few other nations can make, is vital in driving innovation in areas of smart specialisation, or those that are unique and superior.

With job losses around the closure of mass manufacturing firms, Australia is at a critical phase in its transition to advanced manufacturing. Professor John Spoehr and his team aim to determine how industry can be supported to transition to a more competitive economy through their project Economic complexity as a driver of innovation and smart specialisation.

Expected outcomes of this project include high-value industry intelligence in support of product diversification. Significant benefits such as increased international competitiveness, exports, revenue, and economic growth are anticipated from the project.

The project offers a model for boosting economic complexity to drive innovation and smart specialisation in unique areas of strength. This will lead to risk reduction in decision making, policy design and industry support to boost job creation and industry development. This is vital for Australia's competitiveness and economic prosperity.

The project was awarded $143,646 in the latest ARC Linkage Grants announcement. The team consists of John, Associate Professor Giselle Rampersad (CSE), Professor David Powers (CSE), Dr Rong Zhu (CBGL) and Professor John Quiggin (University of Queensland), who will be working with the South Australian Department for Industry and Skills (DIS).

DIS helps industries, businesses and communities identify and capitalise upon opportunities for job creation and economic growth. It harnesses the South Australian Government's expertise in attracting investment, improving industry competitiveness and building a skilled workforce.

DIS is positioning South Australia to capitalise on industries, including medical devices, defence, agribusiness, food, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and mining- and energy-related technical services. The redevelopment of the former Mitsubishi automotive manufacturing site into the Tonsley Innovation Precinct reflects a long-term investment in the state's economic capacity, skills and innovation, and will leverage South Australia's existing capabilities and experience - particularly in southern Adelaide.

“We look forward to collaborating with Flinders University and the University of Queensland on this important project and to integrating the findings of this study in our policies on how best to support innovation economic complexity and smart specialisation,” said Tim Mares, Director, Strategic Economics and Policy Coordination, DIS.

Research Engagement and ImpactResearch Roundup - 4 October 2018

Proactively Supporting our Research

Did you miss these news items on research from the Flinders' Newsdesk?

Slipped discs – not all bending and twisting - Some slipped disc injuries might be caused by movements other than the commonly blamed bending and twisting, according to new research by Flinders University.

 

Philosophy and politics inspire professor - Political theorist Flinders Professor George Crowder has been made a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

 

Community groups battle volunteer decline - Volunteer numbers in grassroots organisations are in dire need of future leaders, according to a new study.

 

Bid to expand country cancer treatment - A new initiative is working to bring access to expanded cancer therapy options to regional South Australia.

 

Primary schools embrace PEACE Pack to tackle bullying - A total of 26 primary schools across South Australia have been trialling a new anti-bullying program developed at Flinders University.

 

Call to support PTS families and ‘carers’ - The partners of veterans and emergency services first responders need more emotional, social and organisational support, a new Flinders University study says.

 

 

If you have some exciting research news to share, please contact the Newsdesk at newsdesk@flinders.edu.au or us at inspiring.research@flinders.edu.au.

Research Engagement and ImpactSaving Nemo at Ngeringa Winery

Saving Nemo banner

Want to help research and conservation efforts for 'Nemo' while eating at one of South Australia's award-winning biodynamic and sustainable wineries? Then the Saving Nemo at Ngeringa Winery is the event for you!

Researchers and Science Educators at Flinders set up the Saving Nemo Conservation Fund for the sole purpose of funding nursery-breeding programs to stop the demand for wild caught fish, establishing research projects that help conserve wild populations and running education programs that enable people to learn how to protect, breed and care for marine ornamental fish.

The popularity of the Pixar film Saving Nemo increased demand for clownfish around the world, but at that time the supplies of the fish to local aquarium stores were only from wild populations, mostly from the Philippines and the Great Barrier Reef here in Australia. This demand led to dramatic decreases in the wild populations, including them disappearing completely from some reefs. The Saving Nemo Conservation Fund set up nursery breeding programs to supply local aquarium stores and a series of research projects around conservation ecology and behaviour, aquaculture and sustainable fisheries, and using host anemones as bioactive products in anticancer research.

As part of their conservation and research fundraising efforts, a luncheon will be held at the Ngeringa Winery on Sunday 7 October at 12:30 pm. Included in the ticket price is a three course meal cooked by Chef Shannon Fleming, formerly head chef of Orana and Blackwood Kitchen, and a complimentary glass of Ngeringa wine. A Silent Auction will be held during the dinner and the guest speaker will be Professor Karen Burke da Silva, Founder of the Saving Nemo Conservation Fund. All proceeds will go directly to supporting education and awareness programs and vital monitoring and research of clownfish and their habitats.

Book here to reserve your place.

Research Engagement and ImpactAssisting the UN and developing nations on how to measure wellbeing

Udoy Saikia presenting the report findings to the members of local and international organisations in Dili, Timor-Leste
Udoy Saikia presenting the report findings to the members of local and international organisations in Dili, Timor-Leste. Copyright: UNDP

Understanding population dynamics and how to measure their wellbeing both at individual and household level is key to Associate Professor Udoy Saikia’s research. For the past two years Udoy and his team have been working with the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Timor-Leste on Timor-Leste’s Human Development Report 2018.

Around three-quarters of Timor-Leste’s population is under 35 years old. The recently released report, a collaborative effort, recommended that the Timor-Leste government designate a quarter of its overall budget to education and training for their youth and to improve the development of their country.

"The 4th NHDR has been characterized by excellent collaboration between the Government of Timor-Leste, UNDP and academia through Flinders University. It provides a good example of how research and science can reach out to influence policies and development practice," said Roy Trivedy, the UN Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste for United Nations Development Programme.

Further to the report, a paper ‘Methods of Measuring Human Well-being and Human Development’, has been included in Integrated Population Biology and Modelling, Part A, Volume 39, 1st Edition under Section V: Human Inequality Measures and Well Being. The paper by Udoy, Gouranga Dasvarma, and James Chalmers includes their research from Timor-Leste and from the Indian state of Assam. It presents innovations associated with the linkage of statistics to well-being and human development, in developing countries where there are links with international efforts to tackle multidimensional poverty.

The Timor-Leste National Human Development Report 2018, is the first time a UN Human Development Report at a national level has attempted to measure well-being, a subjective aspect of the quality-of-life, through developing a dedicated index.

"The Timor-Leste National Human Development Report 2018 is a timely and useful contribution to the policy debate on how to develop our country’s greatest asset, the young people, and unlock their potential to harness this demographic opportunity for accelerated economic and human development gains," said the then Prime Minister Dr Marí Bim Amude Alkatiri.

Research Engagement and ImpactEquity Hub to assist translating research into change

Southgate hub City image header

Flinders has been a leader in research on the social and economic determinants of health and health equity through the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity (Southgate Institute). Once the research has been done, how are initiatives and policy informed at local, regional, state and national levels? The Health Equity Hub aims to provide the conduit between researchers and practice and policy makers.

The Health Equity Hub is an initiative of the Southgate Institute. It brings together policy briefs and summaries of key findings from their research to inform practice and policy in Australia and internationally.

Southgate Institute undertakes research focused on what can be done about the underlying factors that determine the distribution of health and wellbeing outcomes. They produce knowledge on why health inequities exist, what can be done about them and how population health overall can be improved.

"Many thanks to everyone involved in making this happen and especially Helen van Eyk, Paula Lynch and Toby Freeman. This page will help us make an impact and translate our research to those who can then use it to change policies and practice," said Professor Fran Baum, Matthews Flinders Distinguished Professor and Director, Southgate Institute for Health, Society & Equity.

All Southgate Institute members are encouraged to write a short briefing paper, paper with main findings and most importantly lessons/ recommendations for policy and practice to post on this site, after publishing a paper. For more information about the Southgate Institute, please visit their website.

Research Engagement and ImpactSteps to improve gender diversity in coastal geoscience and engineering

Proactively Supporting our ResearchWind-driven sand transport at Ji Beach in Southern Brazil. Copyright: Graziela Miot da Silva

A new paper from an international group of authors, including Flinders Mid-Career Researcher from the College of Science and Engineering, Dr Graziela Miot da Silva, has been published in Nature Publishing Group’s social sciences journal, Palgrave Communications.

The paper details what is holding women back in these professions and suggests seven steps to success. The group found that although women make up almost a third of the coastal geoscience and engineering community, they represent only about one in five of its prestige roles. The lack of women in prestige roles and senior positions contributes to 81% of survey respondents perceiving the lack of female role models in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering as a key hurdle for gender equality.

'Steps to improve gender diversity in coastal geoscience and engineering' by lead author Associate Professor Vila-Concejo, University of Sydney, and team can be accessed at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-018-0154-0.

The authors of the paper are from universities in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, Mexico and France and, together, are the committee for the international network working for Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering (WICGE). The group was founded originally by the first 3 authors and the other members were then invited to join.

"We decided that as the WICGE committee we should make a real contribution to gender equity in our professions and wrote this paper as a first step to help achieving this goal," said Graziela.

"It was amazing to see how easily we worked together although we come from different cultures, languages and time zones. I think everything worked out so well because we had such a strong common goal and supported each other every time we faced a challenge."

WICGE can be followed on twitter, at Facebook, or through their website.

Research Engagement and ImpactFinding the invisible traces

forensic scientist examining bullet casing

Many crimes result in deposition of DNA and body fluid stains that are invisible to the crime scene investigator. As a result, evidence collection is blind and hit and miss.

Professor Adrian Linacre (CSE) and Professor Paul Kirkbride (CSE) are aiming to take their breakthrough technique that currently allows visualization of invisible DNA (latent DNA) on "convenient" surfaces such as a glass microscope slide and turn it into into a quick and inexpensive prototype method ready for transferral to forensic casework.

This will allow DNA traces to be seen on crime items and will result in a greater "hit rate" in recovering latent DNA deposited during crime.

With the exception of fingerprint examination, DNA profiling is arguably the most important technique available to forensic science. It is employed by all forensic agencies in Australia and New Zealand and deals directly with who was involved in a crime, rather than providing circumstantial evidence.

This project will deliver an inexpensive and practical DNA collection capability that will lead to DNA evidence being available in more cases. Crime items that currently yield no genetic information will now be informative, assisting investigations of serious crimes or terrorist incidents.

Adrian and Paul’s project Visualisation of latent DNA was awarded $106,705 from the Australian Research Council (ARC) in the last Linkage Grant announcement. They will be working with industry partners Forensic Science SA and The Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency-National Institute of Forensic Sciences.

Forensic Science SA (FSSA) exists to provide cost-effective, efficient and independent, high quality expert scientific and medico-legal evidence, opinion and information to the justice system and community of South Australia. FSSA and Flinders have a long association, through co-supervision of Honours, doctoral and post-doctoral projects with direct relevance to FSSA.

The Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency-National Institute of Forensic Science (ANZPAA NIFS) is recognised as the peak body for forensic science in Australia and New Zealand and, amongst other functions, deals with innovation and education and training in the forensic sciences at the national level. ANZPAA NIFS also works with other national bodies, such as the Australia and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) of which Adrian is the National President. Adrian and the ANZPAA NIFS Director work together to develop forensic science standards through Standards Australia. ANZPAA NIFS have developed a Research and Innovation Roadmap that will be used to guide future investment in forensic science across Australia and New Zealand. The Roadmap included stakeholder engagement (forensic science service providers, tertiary education institutions and forensic technology providers) in the creation of key areas of focus, including specific research questions including - Could a technique be developed to identify the presence of skin cells on large items/areas that could be sampled for DNA analysis?

Research Engagement and ImpactDiving in Deep to strengthen links with UNESCO members


Photo credit: Flinders University, Maritime Archaeology. (Photo by Francis Stankiewicz)

Underwater Archaeology is a worldwide discipline regularly interfacing with universities, communities, governments and policy makers. Establishing international partnerships plus the co-operation and trust that leads to research collaboration is integral to further our understanding of cultural heritage.

One of the best ways to develop collaborative research is taking the opportunity to meet face-to-face and develop the rapport. This is exactly what Associate Professor Wendy Van Duivenoorde and Dr Jonathan Benjamin have achieved having become co-Chairs of the UNESCO University Twinning and Networking Programme for Underwater Archaeology (UNITWIN Network) in 2015, and this month they will be submitting an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant as a result.

The UNITWIN Network was established in 1992 with the aim to increase research capacity through international cooperation. It enhances the protection of, and research into underwater cultural heritage by formally connecting universities and professional training institutions working in underwater archaeology.

In April 2018, at their meeting in Paris, France, Wendy and Jonathan tabled a discussion to propose development of a joint ARC Linkage Project to build and capitalise on the links the Network has developed over the past three years. The project, 'Diving for humanity', aims to reveal how the field of underwater archaeology developed on a global scale and has generated new significant knowledge about our shared human past. It intends to capitalise on connecting with pioneers of underwater archaeology, many of whom are approaching the end of their academic careers. It will position the important contributions of Australian Maritime Archaeologists on the world stage, an aspect that is largely missing from the current narrative.

To assist in the proposal development Mr Narmon Tulsi, Senior Research Support Officer, Research Development and Support, for the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, was invited to attend the April meeting.

Narmon advised international partners on the ARC grant funding system, assisted in building relationships and provided an overview on what would be required from the international partners to develop a successful application.

“The experience was extremely valuable, and attending the meeting allowed good relationships to be built with key international academics,” said Narmon. “This has undoubtedly had a positive influence on many of the members…they have a willingness to engage with Flinders.”

It is anticipated that the proposal will be submitted in August.

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