17 July 2013

The 2011 Brisbane floods barely put a dint in Ramesh Krishnan Narayanan’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Neuroscience research at The University of Queensland Brain Institute, despite the fact he was displaced from his home for almost six weeks.

Flood memories will be on his mind when he graduates at the University of Queensland on Thursday this week.

And the widespread response to the floods has given him a strong commitment to repay the community for its efforts.

As part of his studies, Dr Narayanan was running an experiment to gain a better understanding of motor neuron disease when water flooded the lower levels of the St Lucia apartment complex he shared with housemate Nithin.

“We were surrounded by water on four sides and had to get the attention of rescue volunteers already busy evacuating residents from the area,” he said.

“We were displaced for almost a month and a half and had to stay at an evacuation centre, but luckily we didn’t suffer property damage as we lived on level 6.

Dr Narayanan was determined to continue his studies and would like to thank the community for the help it provided him with.

“Being unable to conduct my experiments had a potential to delay my candidature, as they form a major part of my thesis work,” he said.

“I am very thankful to my former lab colleague Ajay Panwar for helping me out with the experiments in my absence.

“I felt the need for a research student like myself to get more involved in the community, which has done so much for me during the floods and whose tax dollars pay for the wonderful research being carried out at the Queensland Brain Institute.

“I was affected during floods no doubt, but not as badly as some colleagues and their families who lost their houses.

“My heart goes out to Queenslanders who had to abandon their family homes and had to rebuild their life from scratch,” he said.

Dr Narayanan continues work as a post-doctoral research fellow on motor neuron disease.

“My aim is to get into research on mental health disorders that are on the rise in Australia and have a negative impact on the economy,” he said.

Dr Narayanan will graduate on Thursday 18 July 2013 at The University of Queensland’s St Lucia Campus.

“I would like to thank my supervisors Drs Wallace and Mangelsdorf, friends, colleagues, the army, firefighting crews, the mud army and everybody who came in full swing to clean up Brisbane’s streets in no time,” he said.

Media: Queensland Brain Institute, 3346 0542 or mikaeli.costello@uq.edu.au.