ECR Showcase ends the year on a high note


Pictured: Dr Karen Pack, Department of History and Archaeology

Twelve of Macquarie’s best Early Career Researchers (ECRS) presented groundbreaking, world-changing research to the wider University community at the recent ECR Showcase.

Speaking at the event, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Performance and Development) Amanda Barnier said: “Congratulations to all the finalists from across the University. It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to hear about your research, to support you in every way we can and to watch you thrive.

“At Macquarie, we believe that by cooperating, collaborating and coordinating our research we can become more than the sum of our individual parts, and able to solve complex problems we cannot solve alone. Our early career researchers are crucial to the success of this endeavour; their innovative research shows they are open to consilient conversations and solutions.”

ECR Showcase winners:


Best overall

Dr Karen Pack (she/her), Department of History and Archaeology, Faculty of Arts

An experienced educator and communicator, Pack recently completed a PhD in History at Macquarie, where she explored the marginalisation and erasure suffered by women who did not conform to the dominant heteronormative framework of Australian protestant churches in the twentieth century.

In her showcase presentation ‘Singularly engaged: The historical erasure of women from Australian church histories and the ongoing impact on LGBTQIA+ people of faith’, Pack linked the erasure of unmarried women in the past with ongoing attempts to erase LGBTQIA+ people in the present, and called for a new approach to the writing of religious history in Australia.


Dr Rebecca Bachmann (she/her), Macquarie Business School

Bachmann’s presentation ‘CSR restatements: Mistake or mischief’ explored how corporations have responded to the concept of corporate social responsibility and incentivise CEOs to promote sustainable progress within their organisation. Her findings showed a significant number of ASX500 firms have made little to no authentic progress towards achieving a more sustainable future.

Second runner-up

Dr Elizabeth Austin (she/her), Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences

Austin’s presentation ‘What is better healthcare, and how might we achieve it?’ explored how surges in demand for emergency department (ED) services, along with shortages in resources, make it increasingly difficult for our EDs to provide safe, timely, quality care.

Austin was the first to apply the Cognitive Work Analysis Framework to understand and improve ED care interactions. This systems tool provides a platform to help human factors experts, clinical agencies, frontline workers and patients work together to design better care.

People’s Choice Award

Dr Estefania Giannini (she/her), Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

Giannini is currently working on developing innovative synthetic biology approaches to allow the engineering of symbiotic relationships among microbes of different species, with the goal of creating an impact in areas as diverse as health, ecology and biotechnology. This research aligns strongly with Macquarie’s future-shaping research priorities, which aim to establish a secure planet using innovative technologies.

Impact Award

Dr Ebony Birchall (she/her), Lecturer, Macquarie Law School

Birchall teaches and researches strategic litigation, accountability of businesses and governments, and refugees and human rights.

Her research presentation ‘Doctors in detention: An impossible position’ showed that it is impossible for doctors to provide effective and ethical medical treatment to patients who are incarcerated in a system designed to cause harm, and highlighted the need for collective approaches from the wider medical profession.

Impact Award

Dr Christopher Bladen (he/him), Senior Research Fellow, Macquarie Medical School,  co-founder Zymedyne Therapeutics

Bladen has been investigating the effects of natural and synthetic cannabinoids on various ion channels, with a view to identifying their therapeutic potential and developing a safe and effective non-opioid approach to pain management. His research has identified proteins called ‘T-type’ calcium channels that are crucial in pain signalling and he will develop pharmaceuticals that target these proteins through Zymedyne Therapeutics.

Plans for the 2023 ECR Showcase will commence early next year. ECRs are invited to become part of the organising committee. Express your interest by email at

Watch the full 2022 ECR Showcase below:





Back to homepage


Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

We encourage active and constructive debate through our comments section, but please remain respectful. Your first and last name will be published alongside your comment.

Comments will not be pre-moderated but any comments deemed to be offensive, obscene, intimidating, discriminatory or defamatory will be removed and further action may be taken where such conduct breaches University policy or standards. Please keep in mind that This Week is a public site and comments should not contain information that is confidential or commercial in confidence.

Got a story to share?

Visit our contribute page >>