Showcasing Early Career Researchers 2018 Finalists

Showcasing Early Career Researchers celebrates good research, communicated well.

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Entrants were asked to submit a 30-second video demonstrating that they could convey the aim of their research clearly and effectively. Thirty-one video entries were received and from those, six finalists were chosen to attend the CRC Association conference in Sydney, Collaborate | Innovate | 2018, from 14–16 May and give a five-minute oral presentation about their research. The judges were looking for entrants who demonstrate excellent oral presentation skills.

Mr Chuhao Liu was selected as the overall winner by an audience vote at the conference.


Mr Chuhao Liu, Rail Manufacturing CRC

Stabilising Australia’s Railway Foundation

Rail travel is a popular choice for passenger commuters and freight transport in Australia. However, the track foundation particles are subjected to significant breakage upon repeated train passage. The rail industry currently installs a polymer geogrid inside the foundation to reduce damage. My research aims to identify the optimum design of the geogrid and to develop guidelines for manufacture. By doing this, we will provide a more stabilised foundation for railway.


Ms Jenalle Baker, CRC for Mental Health

Identifying preclinical Alzheimer’s disease with ORCA: Teaching the old(er) new tricks

I have developed an online cognitive tool which can be used for the detection of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. The tool can be used by people in their homes to provide clinicians and researchers with a remote computerised cognitive assessment of learning impairments. It offers an improvement over current testing methods as it is low cost, able to be done in six days compared to current methods which can take one year, and could help industry to recruit to Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials.

Mr Shiv Bolan, CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CARE)

Gut microbes: Guardians of the gut galaxy

Chemical contaminants are almost everywhere we look, including the food we consume – meaning that they can enter our bodies when we eat or drink. These contaminants interact with the billions of bacteria that reside in harmony in our gut and usually aid digestion. The bacteria can change the toxicity of the contaminants, which, in turn, can disrupt bacterial function and diversity. My research is increasing our understanding of these interactions and their effect on human health.

Dr James Fernando, Oral Health CRC

Remineralisation of tooth decay using CPP-ACP and stannous fluoride

Research conducted at the Oral Health CRC has developed a new therapeutic agent to repair tooth decay by combining dairy proteins (casein phosphopeptides) and stannous fluoride. Laboratory and clinical studies revealed this new formulation is more effective in repairing tooth decay than existing agents. Through further research and collaboration with commercial partners, it is intended that this technology becomes available to the public to promote a reduction in the prevalence of tooth decay.

Dr Fatima Naim, Queensland University of Technology

Future proofing our crops with precision gene editing

Over centuries farmers have used classical plant breeding techniques to increase quality and yield of crops for human consumption. However these techniques are unspecific, time consuming and costly. The advent of site-specific nucleases such as CRISPR-Cas9 for gene editing and advances in plant molecular biotechnology have the capacity to fast forward evolution. I am developing methods using CRISPR-Cas9 to specifically and efficiently modify plant genes.

Mr Korah Parackal, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

Progressive failures of light framed structures under wind loading

Houses are complex structures with hundreds of fasteners and structural elements. They are also where we shelter during thunderstorms and cyclones. The roofs of our houses can be vulnerable to wind loads; damage surveys have shown that the failure of a few fasteners can cause other parts of the roof to fail in a cascading or progressive manner. This project aims to understand these complex failures modes with the use of wind tunnel modelling, connection testing and computer simulation.

Other entries

See the other entries for the Showcasing Early Career Researchers competition for 2018.