Research leaders making a difference

Research-informed teaching is but one of the exceptional qualities acknowledged in this year’s recipients of the Flinders Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Early Career Researchers.

Eight outstanding recipients of the 2017 Flinders University awards – Dr Pramod Nair, Dr Sailesh Bihari, Dr Mihir Dilip Wechalekar and Dr Owen Siggs (from the College of Medicine and Public Health), Dr Alice Clement and Dr Peter Tangney (College of Science and Engineering) and Dr Ian Moffat and Dr Monique Mulholland (College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) – were recognised for excellence in research by early career researchers.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says the recipients were chosen from a competitive field, with their outstanding research making an impact either on health and wellbeing in the community, on understanding the world around us, investing or discovering new systems and processes, or understanding the nature of the human condition.

He says the high research standards at Flinders University are being reflected in some exceptional grant income successes in this year’s Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council programs.

“An essential component of research is the discovery of new information and asking questions of the unknown,” Professor Stirling says. “This is a critical part of providing research-informed teaching that not only provides information but encourages students to also ask ‘un-Google-able’ questions.”

Each early career research award recipient will receive $2,500 to fund opportunities to broaden their networks and enhance their standing and recognition as a staff member of Flinders University.

The early career research award winners’ research areas cover:

Dr Pramod Nair – pharmacology (drug metabolism), medicinal and biomolecular chemistry.

Research papers include: Nair PC, McKinnon RA, Miners JO. “A fragment based approach for the computational prediction of the nonspecific binding of drugs to hepatic microsomes”, Drug Metabolism and Disposition, 2016, 44, 1794-1798. (IF ~3.25)

Nair PC, McKinnon RA, Miners JO. “Cytochrome P450 structure-function: insights from molecular dynamics simulations”. Drug Metabolism Reviews, 2016, 10, 1-19. (IF ~5.5)

Dr Mihir Wechalekar – medicine (early rheumatoid arthritis)

Research papers include: Wechalekar MD, Smith MD. Arthroscopic synovial biopsy in rheumatology: current perspectives. Int J Rheum Dis 2017;37 (6):897-904. ERAJR: C; CI:-; IF: 2.624. Invited review.

Wechalekar MD, Quinn S, Lester S, Metcalf RG, Shanahan E, Walker JG, Smith MD, Hill CL, Shanahan EM, Proudman SM. A Treat-to-Target Strategy Preserves Work Capacity in a Rheumatoid Arthritis Inception Cohort Treated with Combination Conventional DMARD Therapy. J Clin Rheumatol 2017;23(3):131-137. ERAJR: C; CI:-; IF: 2.042. Main contributor to study conception, design, data collection and interpretation

Dr Sailesh Bihari – lung injury, fluid resuscitation

Research papers include: Bihari S, Prakash S, Peake SL, Bailey M, Pilcher D, Bersten A. ICU mortality is increased with high admission serum osmolarity in all patients other than those admitted with pulmonary diseases and hypoxia. Respirology. 2017 Apr 17. doi: 10.1111/resp.13055.

Bihari S, Dixon DL, Lawrence MD, De Bellis D, Bonder CS, Dimasi DP,  Bersten A Fluid induced lung injury—role of TRPV4 channels accepted in Pflügers Archiv – European Journal of Physiology 2017.

Dr Owen Siggs, who researches with Professor of Ophthalmology Jamie Craig, at the Flinders Eye Clinic.

Dr Owen Siggs– ophthalmology genetics (childhood eye disease)

Research papers include: Siggs, OM*, Javadiyan, S*, Sharma, S, Souzeau, E, Lower, KM, Taranath, DA, Black, J, Pater, J, Willoughby, JG, Burdon, KP & Craig, JE 2017, ‘Partial duplication of the CRYBB1-CRYBA4 locus is associated with autosomal dominant congenital cataract.’, European journal of human genetics : EJHG, vol. 16, p. 2007.

Siggs, OM, Stockenhuber, A*, Deobagkar-Lele, M*, Bull, KR, Crockford, TL, Kingston, BL, Crawford, G, Anzilotti, C, Steeples, V, Ghaffari, S, Czibik, G, Bellahcene, M, Watkins, H, Ashrafian, H, Davies, B, Woods, A, Carling, D, Yavari, A, Beutler, B & Cornall, RJ 2016, ‘Mutation of Fnip1 is associated with B-cell deficiency, cardiomyopathy, and elevated AMPK activity.’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 113, no. 26, pp. E3706–15.

Dr Alice Clement – evolutionary biology (palaeontology)

Research papers include: Clenment, AM, Challands, T., Ahlberg, P. E. and Long, J. A. (2016a) The cranial endocast of Dipnorhynchus sussmilchi (Sarcopterygii: Dipnoi) and the interrelationships of stem-group lungfishes. PeerJ, 4:e2539, 19pp. 10.7717/peerj.2539.

Clement, A. M., Long, J. A., Tafforeau, P. and Ahlberg, P. E. (2016b) New insights into the origins of buccal pump air breathing in Devonian lungfishes. Paleobiology, 16 pp. DOI:10.1017/pab.2015.41.

Dr Peter Tangney – science and technology policy studies

Research papers include: Tangney, P (2016) ‘The UK’s 2012 Climate Change Risk Assessment: How the Rational Assessment of Science develops Policy-based Evidence’, Science and Public Policy, 44(2), pp. 225 – 234.

Tangney, P and Howes, M (2016). ‘The Politics of Evidence-based Policy: A comparative

analysis of climate adaptation in Australia and the UK’. Environment and Planning

Government and Policy, 34(6), pp. 1115 – 1134 [2016 Impact Factor: 1.771];

Dr Ian Moffat – archaeological science

Research papers include: Moffat, I., Joannes-Boyau, R., Kinsley, L., Willmes, M. and Grün, R., In Press, Strontium Isotope Investigations of Human Mobility based on Teeth from the Iron Age Burial Cave T1 at Tes es-Safi/Gath, Israel, in Maeir, A.M. and Uziel, J. (eds.), Tell es-Safi/Gath, Volume 2: Excavations and Studies, Aeqypten and Altes Testament, Munster: Ugarit-verlag.

Roberts, A., van Duivenvoorde, W., Morrison, M., Moffat, I., Burke, H., Kowlessar, J., Naumann, J. and the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation, 2017, They call ‘im Crowie’: An investigation of the Aboriginal significance attributed to a wrecked River Murray barge in South Australia, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 46 (1).

Dr Monique Mulholland – sociology of gender and sexuality, youth and media studies, post-colonial theory

Journal publications include: Mulholland, M. (2016). “The Pathological Native’ vs ‘The Good White Girl’: An analysis of race and colonialism in two Australian porn panics. Porn Studies 3(1)

Mulholland, M. (2017). When Difference Gets in the Way: Whiteness, Young People and Sexualisation. Sexuality and Culture. 21(2) 593-612.


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