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2011 Research Award Winners

Excellence in Research - Social Sciences, Business & Humanities

Genes for therapy

Associate Professor Jennifer Hudson
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Human Science, Macquarie University


Macquarie University
Dr Heidi J Lyneham, Department of Psychology 
Ron M Rapee, Department of Psychology 

Kings College London, UK
Dr Thalia C Eley, Institute of Psychiatry

University of Reading, UK
Winnicott Research Unit, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences,
Dr Cathy Creswell
Professor Peter Cooper


Genes for Therapy research international collaboration has resulted in highly novel findings showing that children with a specific genetic marker are more responsive to psychological therapy than children without the marker. This research represents a novel test of the ‘environmental plasticity’ hypothesis by exposing all individuals to the same positive environment, cognitive behavioural therapy. The study has several significant implications such as identifying which children are likely to respond more favourably to psychological treatment for anxiety and which children may require more enhanced treatments.

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Excellence in Research - Science & Engineering

Twinkle twinkle little diamond

Dr James Rabeau
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University


Macquarie University - Department of Physics and Astronomy
Mr Carlo Bradac
Dr Torsten Gaebel
Miss Jana Say
Dr Nishen Naidoo
Professor Jason Twamley
Dr Louise Brown
Dr Andrei Zvyagin


This team of cross-disciplinary researchers has broken through a long-standing barrier in diamond science: the demonstration that nano-diamonds, 5000 times smaller than a human hair, can be isolated and made to emit light. This breakthrough has made strong impacts world-wide due to the current rush to design and implement new technologies in quantum and biological science that rely on the use of small diamonds. This work now underpins long term goals in ultrasensitive imaging and sensing technologies.

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Excellence in Higher Degree Research - Social Science, Business & Humanities

Reading and learning to read: morphological processing in chidlren and adults

Ms Elisabeth Beyersmann
Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University


Macquarie University – Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science
Professor Anne Castles
Professor Max Coltheart


Written language is one of our main means of communicating with people. Understanding mechanisms involved in language processing and language acquisition are therefore of great practical relevance and theoretical interest. Elisabeth’s research investigates a core mechanism of the human reading system: unconscious cognitive processes involved in the reading of morphologically complex words, such as plural formations (tree-s), grammatical person information (walk-s), and past-tense formations (walk-ed), in adults and children. My research advances cognitive theories (i) by identifying mechanisms underlying morphological processing in adults, and (ii) by demonstrating how and at what age in reading development children first acquire morphological knowledge.

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Excellence in Higher Degree Research - Science & Engineering

Analysis of pulsatile function of the retinal vasculature for non-invasive assessment of cerebrospinal fluid pressure

Mr Seyyed Mojtaba Golzan
Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University


Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University
Professor Alberto Avolio
Professor Stuart Graham

Macquarie University Hospital
Professor John Magnussen

University of Western Australia
Professor William Morgan

Sydney University
Professor David Celemajer

University of Lincoln, UK
Dr Bashir Al-Diri


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced in the cavities of the brain and circulates around the brain tissue acting as a cushion between the brain and skull. Cerebral dysfunction is diagnosed by changes in CSF pressure (CSFp). Because of infection risk caused by invasive surgical procedures for measuring CSFp, a non-invasive method for assessment of CSFp is desirable. This project aims to measure CSFp non-invasively using the vessels of the ocular circulation. Non-invasive dynamic optical techniques are used to detect changes in retinal vessel calibre and to develop relations between these changes and CSFp located at the back of the eye.

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Excellence in External Research Partnership

Sharing knowledge, mutual benefits and self-determined futures: collaborating with Bawaka Cultural Experiences (BCE), North East Arnhem Land

Dr Sandie Suchet-Pearson & Dr Kate Lloyd
Department of Environment and Geography, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University


University of Newcastle
Dr Sarah Wright

Bawaka Cultural Experiences (BCE)
Laklak Burarrwanga
Timmy Burarrwanga
Banbapuy Ganambarr
Dhalulu Ganambarr
Ritjilili Ganambarr
Donald Ganambarr
Djawa Burarrwanga
Djawundil Maymuru
Arian Pearson
Shandi Mununggurr
Sasha Mununggurr


Sharing Knowledge, Mutual Benefits and Self-Determined Futures research nurtures a deeply collaborative partnership with Indigenous co-researchers from Bawaka Cultural Experiences (BCE), North East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The research collaboration enhances BCE’s capacity to share knowledge through the development of mutual benefits and in doing this facilitates Indigenous self-determination and autonomy. By bringing together art, research and culture we co-researched and co-authored an innovative book on weaving in 2008. We are currently co-authoring our second book on the patterns of belonging that underpin Yolngu relationships at Bawaka. These books and associated outputs strengthen communities and progress self-determination through the communication of Indigenous knowledge for non-Indigenous audiences.

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Excellence in Research in Sustainability

The lingering legacy of lead in Australian cities and environments

Professor Mark Patrick Taylor
Department of Environment & Geography, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University


Macquarie University
Dr Alana Mackay, Dept of Environment & Geography
Dr Carolyn Schniering, Dept of Psychology
Ms Tabitha Kuypers, Dept of Environment & Geography
Mark Laidlaw, Dept of Environment & Geography
Associate Professor Damian Gore, Department of Geography

University of London, UK
Dr Karen A Hudson-Edwards, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences

Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory
Dr Niels Munksgaard, Environmental and Life Sciences


Our studies have been instrumental in highlighting and raising public awareness of the lingering legacy of the environmental lead contaminant problem in Australian capital cities. We have also shown that mining and smelting operations in Mount Isa, Broken Hill and Port Pirie continue to expose children to dangerous levels of contamination in residential environments. This has raised awareness of the potential and actual risk of lead poisoning affecting thousands of Australian children. Our work has prompted multiple responses to the problem from industry, government and legal firms seeking to mitigate further exposures or achieve compensation for those already affected.

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Early Career Research of the Year Award

Dr Linda Graham
ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer (CoRE)
Centre for Research on Social Inclusion,  Faculty of Arts
School of Education, Faculty of Human Sciences
Macquarie University

Dr Graham has 32 refereed publications, including 7 book chapters, 1 book and 20 scholarly articles appearing in the most prestigious journals relating to her field of research. She has been awarded over $800,000 in competitive research funding both here and overseas (2 x ARC Discovery; 1 x SSHRC; 1 x MQRF). Dr Graham’s research has had significant impact in the development of special education policy internationally and her work features regularly in the national print media. She supervises 6 HDR students (5 PhD, 1 M.Ed) and is the co-founder of ECRs@MQ – a support network and development program for early career researchers at Macquarie University.

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