Showcasing Early Career Researchers 2013 (Melbourne)

Showcasing Early Career Researchers celebrates good research, communicated well.

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This year, for the first time, entrants were asked to submit a 30-second video demonstrating that they could convey the aim of their research clearly and effectively.  Fifty-one video entries were received and from those, six finalists were chosen to attend the CRC Association conference and give a five-minute oral presentation about their research. The judges looked for entrants who demonstrated excellent oral presentation skills.

Miss Caroline Le was selected as the overall winner by an audience vote at the conference.


Miss Caroline Le, CRC for Cancer Therapeutics

Cancer?… No Stress!

It’s generally accepted that stress is bad for your health. But rather than just making you more susceptible to the odd flu or cold-sore, what if stress could make you more susceptible to something much more sinister – like cancer spread? Using glowing tumour cells, my work shows that stress weakens our immune systems and actually helps cancer cells spread throughout the body. I’ve also shown that the use of some existing drugs may be able to block these stress signals from having their effect.


Ms Helen Glyde, The HEARing CRC

The effects of hearing impairment and ageing on spatial processing

“Not being able to see isolates you from objects. Not being able to hear isolates you from people.” (Immanuel Kant). For hearing-impaired people the ability to communicate in our busy society is often hampered by an inability to understand speech in noise even when using hearing aids. My PhD identified spatial processing ability as a major cause of this problem and investigated how we can move forward to overcome it.

Dr Anita Parbhakar-Fox, CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction

Acid Rock Drainage Prediction: Protecting the environment of mining

In the pursuit of precious metals, mining produces large piles of waste rock. Exposed to the air, these waste piles oxidize and release strong acid which can spread to cause major environmental damage. By thoroughly examining the rock mineralogy and texture, my research significantly improved identification of rock types that generate acid, enabling the mining industry to better manage the problem and protect the environment. My method is now being rolled out to mine sites worldwide.

Ms Mika Peace, CRC for Bushfire

Fire weather – a 3D spectacular!

Traditional forecasts for bushfires rely on wind, temperature and humidity. But fires and the atmosphere are three-dimensional and can interact to produce dramatic, unexpected fire behaviour. My research focuses on understanding how 3D atmospheric structures influence fire behaviour. My simulations show a fire can actually change the atmosphere around it: by creating a vortex or relocating a wind change! Establishing this underlying science is vital to protecting firefighters and communities.

Dr Nathan Quadros, CRC for Spatial Information

Mapping the coastline

The coastline falls on the line of intersection between a tidal height and the foreshore terrain. In my PhD, I used airborne laser scanning data to define the foreshore terrain, and thereby each specified coastline. Since then I have since expanded and promoted airborne laser scanning and its standard in Australia. Now more organisations have access to good quality elevation data, particularly in regards to assessing the impacts of sea level rise, coastal inundation and catchment flooding.

Ms Monique Topp, CRC for Cancer Therapeutics

Personalised models to change the way we treat ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is currently treated with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. But, not all ovarian cancers are the same and by tailoring treatment to the individual we will likely improve their outcome. I use ovarian cancer samples direct from patients to construct personalised cancer models. I use these models to understand the drivers and weaknesses of individual ovarian cancers, particularly the way cancer cells repair themselves. With this information, I then predict which treatments an individual may benefit from and go on to test the new treatment strategy. In the future I hope to match patients to the treatment best predicted to control their ovarian cancer.

Other entries

See more entries for the Showcasing Early Career Researchers competition for 2013.