Showcasing Early Career Researchers 2016 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. Twenty-three video entries were received and from those, five finalists were chosen to attend the CRC Association conference in Brisbane, The Business of Innovation 2016, from 7–9 March and give a five-minute oral presentation about their research. The judges were looking for entrants who demonstrate excellent oral presentation skills.

Miss Amanda Mazzoni was selected as the overall winner by an audience vote at the conference.


Miss Amanda Mazzoni, CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Does therapy change brain development in young children?

Although behavioural therapies are proven to be highly effective for young children on the Autism spectrum, research has only examined how it changes a child’s behaviours. However, the success of the therapy is largely attributed to the fact that children’s brains are highly plastic. My research is the first to explore what new connections children with Autism are making in the brain as they go through therapy and how this compares to brain activity of typically developing children.


Dr Mary Abdelsayed, Dairy Futures CRC

Healthy data for healthy cows

With no national dairy cow health dataset, dairy farmers have been unable to reliably select for genetically healthier cows. I have quantified the data that is already being collected on farm to estimate disease incidence. This new national dataset is available to industry and will allow geneticists at the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme to develop new breeding values for health issues such as lameness. My work has significant economic and animal welfare benefits.

Mr Antony Crowther, Dairy Futures CRC

A new method to detect fungi in grasses

Fungal endophytes confer benefits to their host, perennial ryegrass, which is the Australian dairy industry’s most important feedbase. Farmers planting seed with low viability endophyte experience one year less persistence in their pasture. Current commercial tests for viability can be inaccurate, slow and expensive. I have developed a metabolomics-based test that gives commercial ryegrass breeders a result in 7 days (current tests take 6 weeks) at $2 per sample (compared with $7 currently).

Ms Tenielle Porter, CRC for Mental Health

Genetics, memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease

There are currently no treatments approved for Alzheimer’s disease, possibly due to clinical trials being targeted too late in the disease process. My project aims to develop a genetic test to identify people in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease who have rates of memory decline observable over a time period appropriate for clinical trials. This test could decrease the cost of clinical trials, but more importantly, increase the chance of identifying a treatment that can be used by patients.

Mrs Roya Rudd, AutoCRC

Tiny particles pack an optical punch

Engineered nanoparticles (NPs) have become a significant class of new materials, with interesting optical properties that make them very attractive for commercial development. Tailoring the size of the NPs, especially when they are embedded in a material and form a nanocomposite, opened up the amazing possibility of tuning the optical properties such as absorption and emission. The goal of this study is to engineer the size of the NPs to achieve new optical properties for automotive light sensors.

Other entries

See more entries for the Showcasing Early Career Researchers competition for 2016.