New South Wales
Dr Jiao Jiao Li
Lecturer, Group Leader, and NHMRC Early Career Fellow at UTS
Musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoarthritis and bone fractures, are the leading cause of chronic disabilities in Australia and globally, incurring enormous healthcare costs.
As a biomedical engineer, Jiao Jiao combines approaches from multiple fields to create regenerative solutions for bone and joint diseases. Her work contributed to the invention and validation of new implants that help regrow natural bone. Her current research on stem cells and their bio-products hopes to develop customised biological therapeutics as improved treatments for osteoarthritis.
Jiao Jiao loves passing on her passion of being a biomedical engineer and promoting careers in STEM. She communicates regularly with the community at National Science Week events and public seminars, as well as with school-aged students through many visits to NSW schools each year and the BIOTech Futures outreach program. Jiao Jiao’s passion for science communication is supported by her roles as 2021-22 Superstar of STEM, and national winner of Falling Walls Lab Australia 2021.
Jiao Jiao completed her PhD in 2015 at the University of Sydney, and is currently a Lecturer, Group Leader, and NHMRC Early Career Fellow at UTS.
Dr Vivien Rolland
A 60% boost in productivity is needed by 2050 for Agriculture to sustainably support the world’s growing population. This is challenging, as agricultural production is threatened by a changing climate, limited arable land, scarce water resources, and the ever-increasing pressure of pests and diseases. To combat these challenges agriculture desperately requires new approaches for breeding future food and fibre crops.
Dr. Vivien (Viv) Rolland is a passionate and dedicated scientist whose research focuses on designing and breeding crops of the future. He uses microimaging, biotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI) to capture and interpret images of key crop characteristics which are invisible to the naked eye and or too complex for humans to interpret alone.
Viv is also a very keen communicator. He shares his fascination and enthusiasm for science by engaging with a wide variety of audiences ranging from school kids and teachers to the Governor General of Australia. His research has been featured in various media outlets such as ABC Landline, ABC radio, as well as overseas outlets. Viv has participated in debates and webinars about the importance of diversity in science and is a strong advocate for Indigenous-led science and project co-design.
Viv was awarded a 2019 CSIRO Julius Career Award and a 2023 Nuffield Scholarship. Gaining his PhD from the University of Vienna, Austria, in 2012 he is currently a Senior Research Scientist and Team Leader at CSIRO. Viv was also awarded the 2022 ACT Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year!
Do you want to know more about Viv’s recent research? His work is highlighted in this blog and video which showcases the development of ‘HairNet’, an artificial intelligence tool that can score leaf hairiness in cotton to assist breeders in identifying plants with beneficial traits. You can also learn more about the images that Viv generated for CSIRO’s most recent recruitment campaign in this blog and this video.
Dr Gary Chan
Tobacco is the deadliest consumer products in human history. Globally, it kills 8 million people each year. In Australia, it is the No. 1 preventable cause of disease, costing the economy $137billion dollar a year.
Despite decades of effort, there are still over 2 million daily smokers in Australia and billions around the world. By taking lessons from other countries with different policies and quantifying the impact of various policies on smoking and vaping, Dr Chan’s research aims at finding the best policy mix to accelerate our transition into a tobacco-free society.
Gary has been actively engaging the public to disseminate my research. He has been interviewed on TV (e.g., ABC) and radio (e.g., ABC, SBS) over 50 times to comment on various drug related issues and policies. His research on the public health impact from alcohol, tobacco and cannabis has been reported in over 300 news outlets globally. He has also been invited to 5 schools in Brisbane and Toowoomba to present to over 1000 high school students on the harms of vaping, provided advice to the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament on strategy on combating youth vaping, and led 3 public submissions to the Australian Government and Parliamentary committees on drug related policies.
Gary completed his PhD in June 2014 at the University of Queensland. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research, University of Queensland.
Dr Suzi Claflin
I study things that we can do right now to improve the lives of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). My research focuses on two main areas: health education and access to healthcare and support services. I explore how health education can improve a person’s knowledge about MS and therefore improve their ability to manage it or support someone managing it. I also study the factors that affect a person with MS’s ability to access the healthcare and support services they need. These include social support, self-belief, remoteness (whether or not they live near facilities like hospitals) and national-level policy on subsidising health care costs (e.g., providing government assistance for the costs of the treatments available for MS, which are very expensive).
I also study how these two research areas affect each other. I am interested in how health education can help people navigate the healthcare system by giving them the information they need to feel empowered, ask questions, and share in decision-making with healthcare providers.
My research gives us information on the actions that we can take right now to improve the lives of people with MS by increasing their access to information and resources.
Prof Britta von Ungern-Sternberg
One in 20 Australian children have surgery each year with 1 in 7 having breathing problems during or after anesthesia. Pediatric anesthesia is a high-risk specialty which can lead to long-lasting harm, including death; children, particularly neonates and young infants, cannot be considered as small adults -research in adults cannot simply be downscaled to pediatric care.
Through our research, my team and I generated knowledge leading to changes in how anaesthesia is performed in Australia and worldwide. My goal is to ensure that when a child needs a vital operation, it is as safe and pain-free as possible.
Dr Tatiana Soares da Costa
Effective herbicides are critical for agriculture. Without them, weeds outcompete crops for resources such as sunlight and nutrients, leading to reduced crop quality and yield. Worryingly, our current herbicides are failing because weeds are evolving mechanisms to become resistant to their effects.
Dr Tatiana Soares da Costa leads a multidisciplinary research team dedicated to discovering new and safe herbicides that are less prone to developing resistance. Her group uses innovative, time and cost-effective strategies to expedite bringing herbicides to the market to ensure food security for future generations.
Tatiana is engaged in outreach to a broad audience, through her work with politicians as a Director at Science & Technology Australia, with students (e.g. Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools) as well as the general public through talks (e.g. Castlemaine Festival, Soapbox Science) and media coverage (e.g. Adelaide Advertiser, ABC, ABC Riverland, ABC Rural, 3RRR).
Dr Cassandra Wright
My research aims to reduce alcohol and other drugs harms in Australia. I study policies, people's environments, their social and family lives and individual differences that influence alcohol and drug use and people’s risk of experiencing harm. I also study what type of interventions and education programs reduce alcohol harms and how to improve them.
One of my major research areas at the moment is women’s risky alcohol use. We know that women juggle a lot between work and families and that this can make them stressed, which can impact on how much they drink. We are doing different types of research to understand what women are going through and try to support them better.
People talk about drinking being an individual choice, but research shows that policies have a big impact on how much people drink and whether drinking causes them problems. Some of my recent research has been looking at how the NT’s policies impact people’s drinking but also whether they get help for drinking, whether they get in trouble with the law and how the policies affect whole families. We do this by looking at statistics and by listening to stories from people across the NT.
Dr Tanveer Adyel
What is the problem you are trying to address?
Over 8 million tonnes of discarded plastic and microplastic end up in our oceans annually. Coastal wetlands, i.e. mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows, are significant sinks of plastic/microplastic; their position makes them ideal for trapping plastic/microplastic from land-runoff and capturing the ocean-based plastics hitting the shoreline.
What is your research doing to solve this problem (often in this format?
Tanveer’s research aims to quantify the intensity and rate of plastic/microplastic accumulation and assess its impact on Australia’s coastal wetlands. This work will benefit Australia in helping decision-making about reducing plastic/microplastic emissions and conserving coastal wetlands.
Public outreach or science communication outputs.:
Tanveer leads a citizen science program on plastic waste management involving frequent outreach with people from local city councils, academia, and volunteer groups. He was interviewed by Radio Marinara (RRR) to discuss Australia’s plastic problem and Science News for Students magazine to deliver an expert opinion on plastic waste generation during the COVID-19 pandemic. He won a prestigious AGU 100 Centennial Award to promote awareness among the young scientific and professional communities on water conservation. He also delivered an invited talk at a public lecture on water quality management.