Dr Daniel King

The University of Adelaide
Research Field: Psychology, Behavioural addictions

While digital technologies can have many benefits, they can also be overused and generate problems for many individuals and their families. Video gaming becomes problematic when players develop an online identity that demands a daily playing schedule, always meeting social obligations to play, and striving for constant rewards and challenges.

Dr King’s research focuses on ‘Internet gaming disorder’ and its conceptualization, measurement, prevention, and treatment. His work has identified practical ways to combat excessive gaming, such as challenging unhelpful thoughts, understanding the ways that games are designed to be addictive, and promoting ‘technology-free’ days and engagement in other activities.

Daniel actively promotes his research findings in an array of areas, including at public lectures and at events focused on gambling addiction, contributes to online resources for parents through the Raising Children website, and engaged with young people about the benefits and drawbacks of technology. Dr King received his PhD from The University of Adelaide in 2010, and is currently a senior research fellow at The University of Adelaide.

Dr Danny Wilson

The University of Adelaide
Research Field: Malaria Biology, Parasitology

Every year more than 400,000 children globally die of disease caused by malaria parasites. The mosquitoes that transmit the parasite are becoming resistant to our best insecticides, and in some places, the parasite is becoming resistant to many of the drug therapies that were previously effective.

Dr Wilson’s research is focused on tackling this issue on two fronts: developing new drugs that kill malaria parasites, and working on developing a vaccine for the parasites. He has identified new drug chemotypes to develop as antimalarials, and developed new parasite tools to fast-track malaria vaccine development.

Danny communicates his science through numerous radio interviews, using a claymation video, and through science evenings at kindergartens. Dr Wilson received his PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2009, and is currently a senior postdoctoral fellow at The University of Adelaide.

Dr Giang Nguyen

The University of Adelaide
Research Field: Mathematics, Applied Probability

Randomness affects the world around us every day. In order to make decisions, it is important to predict and understand the range of possible outcomes, and their likelihoods.

Dr Nguyen’s research uses probability and statistics to develop models to gain insight, and aid in decision-making processes in real-life situations. She has applied these models to a wide array of fields, ranging from cancer treatment, to predicting the South Australian power grid.

Giang’s enthusiasm for mathematics is shown by her numerous maths outreach activities, including, volunteering in the CSIRO Mathematics in Schools program, development of a Maths in Life app, and contributing to The Random Sample podcast. Dr Nguyen received her PhD from the University of South Australia in 2009, and is currently a senior lecturer at The University of Adelaide.

Dr Jia Tina Du

University of South Australia 
Research Field: Information Studies, Information Technology

Using technology to find information and participate in society is playing an ever-increasing role in modern life. While many of us are more empowered by having more access to information, some have become more vulnerable.

Dr Du’s research seeks to enhance the interplay between people, information, and technologies, with the aim of providing better user experiences in human-information interactions. She is studying the information behaviour of vulnerable communities in the digital age, to improve online social inclusion in Australian society.

Jia Tina’s public outreach includes participating in Think Tank debates at the Australian Academy of Science, contributing to Science Week events, interviews with the media, and work with digital literacy charity. Dr Du received her PhD from Queensland University of Technology in 2010, and is currently a senior lecturer at the University of South Australia.

Dr Marnie Winter

University of South Australia
Research Field: Biomedical Engineering

From 5 weeks into a pregnancy, fetal cells that naturally break off from the placenta can be found in the mother’s blood stream. These rare cells, occurring about 1 in a billion of the mother’s cells, enable the non-invasive testing for a range of pregnancy conditions. However, current technologies used to isolate these cells are poor.

Dr Winter’s research has focused on developing technology that can separate these rare fetal cells from the mother’s cells. This technology in currently in the process of being further developed, and commercialised for future clinical implementation.

Marnie is passionate about science outreach and communication, spanning from national radio and television interviews and newspaper articles, organised events for National Science Week, hosted laboratory tours, and visited numerous high schools to talk about maths and science. Dr Winter received her PhD from University of South Australia, and is currently a research associate at the Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia.

A/Prof Majid Ebrahimi Warkiani

Associate Professor Majid Ebrahimi Warkiani
University of Technology Sydney
Research Field: Cancer Research

Cancer is a devastating and silent disease that kills more than 50,000 people annually in Australia. If detected early, more than 90% of human cancers can be treated successfully. However early detection of cancer currently relies on an invasive procedure, where a biopsy is surgically removed from a tumour.

Majid Warkiani leads a team developing patient-friendly and innovative methods to better detect and treat cancer, including a non-invasive diagnostic called the ‘liquid biopsy’ to identify cancerous cells in the blood earlier than biopsies.

Majid and his team aim to improve quality of life for people with late-stage cancer by eliminating the need for harsh chemotherapy or radiation therapies in the treatment of cancer.

They have developed a filtration system similar to a kidney dialysis machine to filter cancer cells from patients’ blood and slow the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

A/Prof Warkiani promotes STEM subjects at university open days, runs workshops on 3D printing for students and their families and has promoted nanotechnology to high school groups through scientific museum exhibits in Sydney and Singapore.

Associate Professor Majid Ebrahimi Warkiani was awarded his PhD in 2012 by the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and is currently Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Dr Nigel Rogasch

The University of Adelaide & SAHMRI
Research Field: Neuroscience

Schizophrenia is associated with numerous cognitive defects closely linked to many poor functional outcomes. Many of these debilitating symptoms, including impaired memory and inability to concentrate, currently have no effective treatments.

Dr Rogasch’s research combines non-invasive brain stimulation and neuroimaging methods to uncover differences in prefrontal mechanisms between people with healthy cognitive function and those with schizophrenia, and looks at identifying how best to alter these mechanisms. This research has the potential inform potential new treatments for improving cognitive function across a vast range of brain disorders.

Nigel’s enthusiastic science communication spans national television programs, radio and print interviews, and regular public lectures and school visits. He also established a work experience program that brings school students into the lab, and developed a science club with primary school students. Dr Rogasch received his PhD from Monash University in 2014, and is currently a senior research fellow at The University of Adelaide, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and Monash University.

Associate Professor Ronika Power

Associate Professor Ronika Power
Macquarie University
Research Field: Bioarcheology

Associate Professor Power studies ancient human remains to understand what it was like to live – and die – in the past, and to communicate the science of human health, climate change, violence and mass migrations.

Ronika Power hopes to build better futures by guiding decision-makers with lessons from the past.

Associate Professor Power studies human skeletons and mummies from the ancient world to communicate the science of human health, human migration, palaeodiet and palaeoclimate data.

By bringing together the fields of science, technology, humanities, mathematics and medicine, Ronika tells detailed stories about the health, lifestyles and environments people experienced as long as 10,000 years ago.

As the primary human remains expert on four ERC-funded projects, Ronika collaborates across Australia, the UK, Europe and Canada and has generated high-impact publications across a variety of fields, including her co-authored work on the late Holocene massacre at Nataruk in Kenya.

A/Prof Power’s community engagement extends across traditional, online and social media, with public outreach activities across every Australian state and territory, including participation in the Superstars of STEM pilot program. Interdisciplinary teaching resources developed by Ronika have been implemented in schools in NSW.

A/Prof Ronika Power was awarded her PhD by Macquarie University in 2012 and is currently a lecturer in Bioarchaeology, Department of Ancient History, Faculty of Arts and Deputy Director, Centre for Ancient Cultural Heritage and the Environment (CACHE), Macquarie University.

Dr Oren Griffiths

Flinders University
Research Field: Psychology

The world is a complex place and our brains can only concentrate on a few things at once, however the brain is continuously and passively monitoring our surrounding environment for change. The disruption of these “pre-attentive” processes, subtle, low-level components of attention, are disrupted in people with schizophrenia or Parkinson’s.

Dr Griffiths research studies the interactions between knowledge, uncertainty and selective attention. He is currently focused on using electrophysiological measures to study pre-attentive and covert attentional processes.

Oren’s science communication has included many media interviews, community presentations, as well as the development of a device for the BrainyBee program, that allowed students to compare neural activity while completing puzzles. Dr Griffiths received his PhD from the University of New South Wales in 2009, and is currently a lecturer at Flinders University.

Dr Angelica Merlot

Dr Angelica Merlot
Lowy Cancer Research Centre, University of New South Wales
Research Field: Cancer Research

Angelica Merlot’s research is focused on developing new drugs and strategies to combat the deadliest cancers and prevent their growth, spread and adaptation to current drugs.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, with brain and pancreatic cancers two of the deadliest. Brain cancer in particular kills more children than any other disease and has a five-year survival rate of less than 20%. Even worse, pancreatic cancer has a 5-year survival rate of only ~9.8%, with the vast majority of patients succumbing to the disease within the first year of diagnosis. It is therefore of urgent importance to develop better treatment options and strategies for these patients.

Angelica’s research focuses on cancers that are almost always a death sentence, with her work to develop new anti-cancer drugs and to better understanding drug resistance and the tumour microenvironment.

Dr Angelica Merlot was awarded her PhD by the University of Sydney in 2013 and is currently is Scientia Research Fellow at the Children’s Cancer Institute, University of NSW.