2017 Victoria Fellows profiles

The 2017 Victoria Fellowships were awarded to:

Life sciences:


Physical sciences:


Dr Kim Allison

University of Melbourne

Obesity is one of the biggest challenges facing Australia’s healthcare system, and is a risk factor for many chronic diseases. This fellowship will inform future solution-driven interventions and create opportunities for further international collaboration. Dr Allison will spend time with leading researchers in the UK, USA and the Netherlands to understand the training programs they have designed to deliver effective and sustainable behavioural change strategies for weight-loss. Through this visit, she aims to foster professional collaborations to ensure the latest advances abroad reach Victoria and Australia. She will also present her own research into the barriers to the delivery and reception of weight-loss interventions in Australia at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases in Krakow, Poland.





Ms Jane Hawkey

University of Melbourne

High throughput sequencing has transformed our understanding of bacteria. Cutting-edge techniques in molecular biology, which precisely alter bacterial genomes, have enabled the investigation of the impacts of the loss of certain genes on the ability of the bacteria to continue to cause disease. Ms Hawkey will visit leading institutes in the field of bacterial genomics including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Cambridge University Department of Medicine at Addenbrookes Hospital. She will receive training in the development of world first techniques aimed at exploring the complex relationship between bacterial cells and elements of the human immune system and learn how to analyse the high throughput data generated from these experiments, including sequencing, imaging and immune cell responses.


Dr Erin McAllum

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease are ultimately caused by brain cell death, but the reasons brain cells die remain unclear. With more than 100,000 Victorians living with dementia, which is projected to rise to more than 280,000 in the next 30 years in the absence of new treatments,
it represents an unprecedented social and economic burden. Dr McAllum will travel to France to use cutting-edge chemical imaging technologies to understand the role metals play in protein aggregation in brain tissue, and the potential for preventative treatments. This project will generate the most comprehensive understanding of the relationship between metals and protein aggregates to date and transfer this knowledge back to Victoria and integrate it into our current chemical imaging platforms.





Dr Jennifer Payne

Monash University

Since WW2, antibiotics have defended us from bacterial infection. But the rise of the modern, antibiotic-resistant “superbug” means we are, once again, vulnerable to bacterial infections. Unless new treatments become available, the death toll from antibiotic-resistant bacteria is predicted to overtake cancer by 2050. Dr Payne’s research focuses on developing innovative antibiotic strategies that combine different mechanisms of action into one molecule.  This study mission will allow Dr Payne to present her research at an international conference and visit Harvard Medical School, formalising her collaboration with researchers working on cutting-edge microfluidic technique for monitoring immune cell migration – crucial to Dr Payne’s research. Mastering this technique will further Victoria’s development of these vital new treatments.


Ms Samantha Rowbotham

Monash University

Determining whether a child’s injuries have resulted from an accident or abuse is still one of the largest diagnostic dilemmas in medico-legal investigations in Victoria and around the world. With more than 15,000 Australian children physically assaulted each year, this is a growing concern. Ms Rowbotham’s study mission aims to strengthen the medico-legal evidence base for cases of suspected child abuse by establishing a Paediatric Skeletal Trauma (PaST) database and exploring the question of whether facture patterns from unintentional short falls and physical abuse can be differentiated from each other. The mission will involve collection of data at three world-leading medico-legal laboratories, and training in a key tool to analyse the skeletal trauma in the cases used for this research.


Dr Phillip Ward

Monash University

Whether watching a movie or trying to solve a complex problem, parts of the brain spontaneously need more energy than others. These short-term bursts of energy are supplied by the blood stream and regulated by a system called neurovascular coupling, which is thought to break down as the brain ages. Dr Ward will study new techniques at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) to measure how the blood vessels respond to changes in brain function, whilst also measuring the amount of oxygen being metabolised. His study mission will help him acquire the knowledge and skills required to bring MR-based oxygen and blood-flow imaging into PET-MR research in Victoria. He will also visit the world first high-field PET-MR being developed at Forschungszentrum Jülich.



Physical sciences


Dr Tessa Charles

University of Melbourne

Particle accelerator technology first developed for high-energy particle physics is now being used for cancer therapy. Whilst their objectives are distinct, the accelerator technology is very similar. This study mission to MAX IV Laboratory in Sweden and to CERN in Switzerland will allow Dr Charles to develop expertise in nonlinear accelerator physics. At MAX IV, she will test a new method of beam diagnostics and gain first-hand experience of beam manipulation and control. At CERN, she will work alongside renowned accelerator experts and gain a better understanding of advanced modelling techniques used in particle collider simulations. This fellowship will allow her to leverage the modelling techniques developed for high-energy particle colliders, and improve the accelerator technology that impact our everyday lives.



Dr Ludovic Dumee

Deakin University

Titania (TiO2) has a unique combination of properties enabling a wide range of applications in the catalysis, bio-medical and separation area. Furthermore, this naturally occurring photocatalytic active material can degrade organics when activated with ultra-violet (UV) light. The application of TiO2 in anti-corrosion films and biomedical devices in the 1990s led to the development of smart coating materials nowadays commercially used to treat effluents which cannot be remediated with polymeric membranes. Dr Dumée will visit the Institut Européen des Membranes, which is one of the world’s leading research organisations for the design of advanced membrane materials, and perform patterned lithography by Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) on pre-formed TNT membranes, developed at Deakin University.


Dr Farhad Farokhi

University of Melbourne

The use of networked devices, such as smart phones and wearable gadgets, for the monitoring and control of large-scale infrastructure, such as intelligent transportation systems, can improve the efficiency of existing infrastructure in Victoria. This study mission will address key challenges including the potential infiltration by hackers and develop a framework to inform the design of transport systems involving crowd-sourced sensing and actuation, with emphasis on system security and user privacy. Dr Farokhi will visit ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology: EPFL, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Delft University of Technology, Scania Research and Development and KTH Royal Institute of Technology and collaborate with leading researchers to progress implementation of intelligent transportation systems in Victoria.


Dr Simon Illingworth

University of Melbourne

Transportation accounts for approximately 23 per cent of carbon emissions worldwide. Reducing this is a key objective around the world and a priority for Victoria. One way is to reduce the aerodynamic drag of transport vehicles such as cars, ships and aircraft. The aim of this project is to combine expertise at the University of Melbourne and at TU Berlin to develop control strategies for fluids that are both systematic and practical. The aim is to make feedback control of fluids genuinely feasible. This is crucial if flow control is to meet its potential to improve fluid flows and reduce emissions in Victoria and around the world. The study mission at TU Berlin would allow Dr Illingworth to make important progress towards this validation.


Dr Jianzhen Ou

RMIT University

Gastrointestinal (GI) tract disorders and diseases affect at least half the population. Unfortunately, current diagnostic methods are limited and are generally inconclusive, can be invasive, need specialist administration and/or are time consuming. Indigestible capsules integrated with pH measurement and camera systems can provide non-invasive and direct diagnostic information but they are limited to acidity measurements and visual features of the gut, respectively. This study mission will focus on adding the capability of sensing intestinal metabolites into the Human Gas Sensing Capsule for improving the variety and accuracy of diagnostic information related to the health state of the human gut. Dr Ou will also establish a research and development partnership with Boston Scientific Corporation which is a world leading manufacturer in medical devices.


Dr Haoran Ren

RMIT University

To meet the ever-increasing demand for managing enormous amounts of data in the big data era, optical multiplexing—a technique processing multiple information channels encoded in physical dimensions of light in parallel—has played an indispensable role in optical technology. The grand objective of this study mission is to develop an entirely new concept of massive nanoplasmonic Angular Momentum (AM) multiplexing through the discovery of an integrated digitalised Huygens phase plate capable of near-field wavefront engineering of an array of plasmonic AM fields excited from a large number of AM-carrying information channels. His study mission will allow him to travel to which France and collaborate with the Centre de Recherche sur l’Hétéro-Epitaxie et ses Applications at Université Côte d’Azur.

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