13 September 2011

THE work of 15 researchers and supervisors has been honoured at a special ceremony to mark Research Week at The University of Queensland.

The 2011 UQ Foundation Research Excellence Awards and the Awards for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision are a highlight of Research Week (September 12-16). The award ceremony was held tonight at St Lucia.

The UQ Foundation Research Excellence Awards recognise outstanding performance and leadership potential among early-to mid-career researchers. The 2011 winners are:

Dr Garrie Arumugam Dr Garrie Arumugam, of the School of Biomedical Sciences, receives for his project that will provide new insight into the process of ischaemic stroke-induced brain injury, and will present new targets for drug development for stroke.

Dr Julie Ballantyne Dr Julie Ballantyne, of the School of Music, receives for her project investigating how music teachers' professional identities develop and the ways this affects their success as early career teachers.

Dr Timothy Bredy Dr Timothy Bredy, of the Queensland Brain Institute, receives for his research determining how fear-extinction (a fear-minimising process) memories are established and maintained. Such knowledge can then be applied to the development of more effective intervention strategies for anxiety disorders.

Dr Yvonne Buckley Dr Yvonne Buckley, of the School of Biological Sciences, receives to discover key drivers of plant population change and to identify triggers for successful plant population management to develop help inform management options and contribute to better biodiversity outcomes.

Dr Zhi Gang Chen Dr Zhi Gang Chen, of the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, receives for his project to develop thermoelectric materials or nanostructures that convert waste heat into electrical energy. When used in power-generation devices, such materials will reduce both society's dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Lynda Cheshire Dr Lynda Cheshire, of the School of Social Science, receives to investigate whether the increase in reported neighbour complaints represent a breakdown in neighbourly relations or a decline in tolerance levels in the community to contribute to sociological theory about neighbours and neighbouring in urban contexts. It will assist government and policymakers understand how communities function in contemporary society.

Dr Paul E. Dux Dr Paul E. Dux, of the School of Psychology, receives for his project that seeks to isolate the neural mechanisms underlying multi-tasking training effects and to characterise differences in multi-tasking abilities and response to training. Results will have fundamental implications for theories of human performance, and for understanding of attentional disorders induced by neurological disease and mental illness.

Dr Mathias Francois Dr Mathias Francois, of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, receives for his research identifying and characterising a novel class of molecules that will enable the manipulation of lymphatic vessel growth with a view to developing new therapeutic avenues for cancer or lymphedema.

Dr Angus Harding Dr Angus Harding, of the UQ Diamantina Institute, receives to systematically characterise key mechanisms underpinning brain tumour evolution to inform new approaches to therapy that delays or inhibits the emergence of therapy resistance in cancer patients.

Dr Jian Liu Dr Jian Liu, of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, receives for his project developing carbon nanostructured electrode materials. Carbon-based, nanostructured super capacitor electrodes lie at the heart of fundamental advances in the development of an efficient electrical double-layer capacitor for energy storage.

Dr Jason Roberts Dr Jason Roberts, of the School of Medicine, receives for his research into ensuring critically ill patients receiving dialysis achieve therapeutic concentrations of vancomycin (a type of antibiotic) at the site of infection to maximise the likelihood of survival.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Max Lu congratulated the winners and commented on the diversity of the research represented.

"UQ researchers were awarded more than $320 million in research grants, including many prestigious fellowships, in 2010," Professor Lu said.

He said UQ had grown into a true global research powerhouse, as evidenced by the Excellence in Research in Australia (ERA), and the various international rankings of universities all putting UQ in the top 100 in the world.

"More importantly, ERA revealed the comprehensiveness of UQ's research strengths and placed UQ well above or above world standard in more broad fields of discovery than any other institution," he said.

"As well, we have more researchers performing in fields rated above world standard than any other university; and these award winners are representative of the calibre of UQ researchers."

Also announced at the ceremony were the UQ Awards for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision, which honour the advisers who lead and inspire UQ research higher degree candidates.

The Dean of the UQ Graduate School, Professor Zlatko Skrbis, paid tribute to this year's winners and the importance of the awards in recognising the dedication and inspiration of these advisors in shaping tomorrow's research leaders.

The 2011 winners are:

Professor John Macarthur Professor John Macarthur, of the School of Architecture, who has transformed research higher degree study in the school into a collegial and collaborative experience.

Professor Louise Hickson Professor Louise Hickson, of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, who has supported and encouraged her candidates, many of whom study remotely, with exceptional analytical skills and patient mentorship.

Associate Professor Rowan Truss Associate Professor Rowan Truss, of the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, who exposes candidates to best practice in research management and facilitates opportunities for candidates to build international networks.

In addition, Dr Martin Crotty, of the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, has been recognised for his innovative practice and contribution to research supervision at UQ with a commendation.

For more information on Research Week, please visit www.uq.edu.au/research-week.

Media: UQ Communications, Fiona Cameron (+61 7 3346 7086, f.cameron2@uq.edu.au).