2011 Research Award Highly Commended
Excellence in Research - Social Sciences, Business & Humanities
Facilitating surgical decision making: Breconda, a novel decision aid for women facing breast reconstruction
Dr Kerry Sherman
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Human Sciences, Macquarie University
University of the West of England
Dr Diana Harcourt, Reader in Health Psychology, Co-Director, Centre for Appearance Research, , Bristol, UK.
University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital
Professor John Boyages, Executive Director, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute
Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, Westmead Hospital
Dr Thomas Lam, Plastic Surgeon
BRECONDA is a theoretically-guided, interactive, computer-based decision aid to assist women with breast cancer, and those at risk for developing breast cancer, to make decisions about breast reconstruction. Until now, thousands of women facing this decision did not have easy access to appropriate psychosocial support. This decision aid provides an innovative, cost-effective, accessible, and tailored intervention for all women in this situation. The modular form allows the user to work through the program at her own pace and accommodates to her information processing preferences. BRECONDA provides improved support by uniquely addressing cognitive and emotional aspects of the decision making process.
Evolution of hand preferences in Australian parrots
Dr Culum Brown
Department Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University
University of Sydney
Miss Dianna Maggat, Centre for Vascular Research
The evolution of hand preferences in Australian Parrots research shows that parrots show very strong population level hand preferences similar to those seen in humans but great variability exists between and within species. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that the strength of hand preference is linked to foraging ecology. Parrots that extract seed from large seed pods using coordinated foot-eye-beak movements are more strongly lateralised than those that graze on seeds and nectar. Strongly lateralised parrots are also more capable of solving novel problems. The emergence of non-lateralised feeding was associated with a decrease in body size and coincides with the increasing aridity of the Australian landscape.
Excellence in Research - Science & Engineering
Dragonfly: a photonic based instrument for studying exoplanetary science
Dr Nemanja Jovanovic
Research Fellow in Astrophot, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University
Macquarie University - Physics & Astronomy
Mr Simon Gross
Mr Martin Ams
Dr Jonathon Lawrence
Dr Michael Ireland
Dr Graham Marshall
Dr Michael Withford
University of Sydney
Professor Peter Tuthill
Mr Barnaby Norris
Mr Paul Stewart
Mr Ned Charles
Dr Gordon Robertson
Observatiore De Paris
Dr Sylvstre Lacour
The aim of this research project is to develop an instrument to hunt for and study planets around distant stars, known as “Dragonfly". Unlike other planet hunting instruments Dragonfly uniquely relies on a miniaturised 3D photonic chip and micro-optics to process the signal from the stellar target. We have recently demonstrated for the first time on the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the successful merge between micro-scale photonics with macro-scale telescope infrastructure which paves the way for the development of a new generation of astronomical instrumentation. Such instruments offer numerous benefits for processing stellar light and will lead to many ground-breaking discoveries.
Excellence in Higher Degree Research - Social Science, Business & Humanities
Modelling the mirrored-self misidentification delusion with hypnosis
Mr Michael Connors, Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University
Macquarie University - Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science
Associate Professor Amanda Barrier
Professor Max Coltheart
Associate Professor Robyn Langdon
Dr Rochelle Cox
Michael’s research used hypnosis to model the mirrored-self misidentification delusion, the belief that one’s reflection in the mirror is a stranger. This delusion commonly occurs in Alzheimer’s patients and is difficult to study because of the associated decline in brain function. This project is significant because it allows researchers to create a temporary model of the disorder that can be studied in the laboratory. The research outcomes have been a better understanding of the disorder and the types of clinical challenges that might be effective in treating it. The research has produced a methodology for studying other clinical delusions.
Virtual reality based exposure therapy isolated effect for agoraphobia: a comparative trial
Dr Eric Malbos
Department of Psychology, Macquarie University
Professor Ron Rapee, Department of Psychology
Professor Manolya Kavakli, Department of Computing
Agoraphobia, a common anxiety disorder in Australia, is defined as the fear of being in situations from which escape might be difficult. As standard exposure therapy is not bereft of weaknesses, this study comprised an innovative form of treatment: virtual reality based exposure therapy which was appraised in the framework of a controlled study involving 18 agoraphobic participants. Virtual reality allows them to interact in specific 3D computerised worlds. Results from self report questionnaires, behaviour tests and physiological measures demonstrated the overall therapeutic effectiveness: mood was improved, anxiety and avoidance behaviour lessened, the fear towards agoraphobic situations reduced.
Excellence in Higher Degree Research - Science & Engineering
Using fixation-related potentials to investigate cognitive processes
Mr Peter de Lissa, Cognitive Science, Faculty of Human Sciences Macquarie University
Cognitive Science, Faculty of Human Sciences, Macquarie University
Associate Professor Geneviere McAthur
Professor Anne Castles
Dr Jon Brock
Mr Yatin Mahajan
Australian National University, Canberra
Salzburg University, Austria
My research combines the analysis of eye-movements with electroencephalogical recordings to form fixation-related potentials, gaining insight into the brain's activity when visual analysis is taking place. This technique allows new insights to be gained into the cognitive functions involved in visual analysis, and I have adapted and applied this developing technique to record brain activity continuously as people read whole paragraphs of text, which had hitherto been unachievable due to methodological constraints. I have also applied the technique to face processing, yielding unique data relating to this cognitive ability.
Trust propagation in online social networks
Mr Guanfeng Liu , Department of Computing, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University
Department of Computing, Macquarie University
Associate Professor Yan Wang
Professor Mehmet Orgun
Singapore Management University
Professor Ee-Peng Lim
Online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have been used as the means for rich activities (e.g. employment and product sales). In these activities, trust is an impact factor on participants’ decision making. Our research studies an effective trust propagation model that takes complex social information including social relationships, recommendation roles and preference similarities into account, which have significant influence on trust establishment, but have been neglected by existing methods. Our model can greatly help evaluate more reasonable trust value between two unknown participants and further help their decision making with the assistance of complex social networks.
Advanced manipulation of the properties of point-by-point fiber bragg gratings for novel laser applications
Mr Robert James Williams, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University
Dr Graham Mashall
Dr Nemanja Jovanovic
Associate Professor Michael Steel
Associate Professor Michael Withford
Friedrich-Schiller - Universität
University of Sydney
Fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) are critical components in many industries, including fiber lasers, telecommunications networks and fiber-based sensing systems. The point-by-point technique for fabricating FBGs is uniquely flexible; however it has received limited interest to date, as only the most basic form of FBGs have been demonstrated.
We have begun to exploit the full flexibility of the point-by-point technique to demonstrate a variety of advanced FBGs which can provide greatly improved performance and functionality for a wide range of fiber-based systems. Combined with the inherent advantages of point-by-point FBGs, this advancement is enabling new opportunities for research and applications.
Excellence in External Research Partnership
Medical signbank: sign language planning and development in interpreter-mediated medical and mental health care delivery for deaf Australians
Associate Professor Jemina Napier
Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Human Science, Macquarie University
Macquarie University - Department of Linguistics
Associate Professor Trevor Johnston
Georgina Major (PhD student)
Lindsay Ferrara (PhD student)
National Auslan interpreter Booking & Payment Service (NABS)
NSW Health Care Interpreting Service, NSW Multicultural Health Unit
The aim of the Medical Signbank project was to establish an effective, shared and standardized sign language vocabulary for the discussion of medical issues by deaf patients and health professionals—mediated through Australian Sign Language (Auslan) interpreters—to improve the health outcomes of this socially and economically disadvantaged group of people. The Medical Signbank is an interactive internet-based lexicon and encyclopaedic dictionary. The linguistic research and resources built into Medical Signbank realises the objective of standardizing Auslan medical terminology, thereby improving health professional-deaf patient communication and will ultimately results in improvements in the physical and mental health of deaf people.
Excellence in Research in Sustainability
Promoting sustainabilityin local governments: a tool for climate adaptation decision making
Ms Supriya Mathew, PhD Candidate
Department of Environment and Geography, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University
Prof Ann Henderson-Sellers, Department of Environment & Geography
Associate Professor Stefan Trueck, Dept. of Applied Finance and Actuarial Studies
Mirvac School of Sustainable Development, Bond University
Prof Ros Taplyn
Mr Peter Davies
Dr Jenny Scott
Ms Louise Hayward
Climate change is a global problem that requires adaptation and mitigation responses. Uncertainty about climate change and the potential impacts lead to difficulties in timely responses by governments at all levels. In particular, the unique nature of the impacts, make local governments mainly responsible for deciding on adaptation actions. Here we develop a guide to encourage local governments take precautionary measures under an unsure environment. The guide works through the political, economic and cultural barriers of locations with the help of two case studies in India and Australia. The framework we propose is tested for local level challenges and thus can be applied in a real world.
Early Career Research of the Year Award
Dr Richard Garner
Dr Garner's research is in the mathematical discipline of category theory. Category theory seeks to understand the forms of high-level reasoning found in pure mathematics, to codify these into abstract structures, and to understand how these structures may be applied to other parts of mathematics or to other disciplines such as computer science and theoretical physics. D Garner gained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2006, and since then has attracted competitive grant funding of over $800,000 in a series of prestigious research fellowships: a European Union Marie Curie Fellowship in Uppsala, Sweden (2006-08), a Research Fellowship of St John's College, Cambridge (2008-10), and now an ARC Australian Research Fellowship here at Macquarie (2011-15). His has 14 publications to his name, these spanning a wide range of mathematical disciplines, and has collaborators in Australia, Germany, Italy, the US, the UK, and the Czech Republic. He has received many invitations to speak at international conferences and workshops and is currently involved with the supervision of two PhD students here at Macquarie.
Dr Daniel Falster
Title: The evolution of forest diversity
The goal of this project is to understand why evolution favours a diversity of plant species in forests around the world. Because of their size and longevity, forests are difficult to manipulate experimentally. I have developed a mathematical model that mimics the evolutionary process, allowing me to assess which processes drive the evolution of different plant types in different locations. These adaptive models also allow us to look ahead and ask what our forests may be like in a future world, as they adapt to the new environments humans are creating.owscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="250">
Dr Paul Sowman
My research focuses on motor control in human speech. I am particularly interested in the neurological basis of stuttering. I have initiated a research program that will characterise the neural network for speech in preschool age stutterers. This represents an important step forward because current knowledge of the brain basis of stuttering is based almost exclusively on adult studies which are unable to differentiate between compensatory brain changes that occur as a reaction to stuttering and those brain anomalies which cause stuttering. Studying the brains of very young stutterers could lead us to uncover the causative anomalies associated with stuttering.