Hosted by the Global Change Institute (GCI) in partnership with UQ's Graduate School, the Global Change Scholars Program is an initiative designed to foster and develop research leaders.
Program graduates will possess deep understanding of global trends, the challenges and opportunities they present, and an awareness of how to drive the changes necessary for us to build sustainable futures.
Learn more about the Global Change Scholars Program here.
Global Change Scholars 2017
As part of the prerequisites for pastoral ministry in the Catholic Church, I studied for my Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Sacred Theology at the Seminary of Saints Peter and Paul, Ibadan, Nigeria (an affiliate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and Pontifical Urban University, Italy) from 1997 to 2005 respectively. However, following my desire to reinvent myself as a scholar in conflict and security studies, I went to the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2014 to complete a MSc in Global Security on a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, jointly sponsored by the University and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). As one of the top five percent of students in the program, my final dissertation was entitled “‘The Other Islamic State’: A State-Centred Explanation of Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria’, and I graduated with distinction in December 2015.
Jose Alquicira Hernandez
As a PhD student at the Institute of Molecular Biosciences in the Single Cell and Computational Laboratory under the supervision of Dr Joseph Powell, my main research interests consist on understanding the genetic control of gene expression and its role in disease at a single cell resolution. I attained my Bachelor's degree in Genomic Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. As an undergraduate, I was an intern in the Department of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health under the supervision of Dr Jeff Leek, where I worked on the characterisation of human RNA splicing diversity. I also worked with Julio Collado at the Center for Genomic Sciences for three years, developing software to infer human genetic ancestry and computational tools to analyse gene regulation data of E.coli from the database RegulonDB.
I have a background in nature conservation, having worked for NGOs and the private sector. I’ve managed several projects prioritising conservation actions on the ground including updates to the IUCN Red List for birds, and identification of Key Biodiversity Areas. I’ve had a keen interest in the Asia-Pacific region during the early stages of my career, having lived and worked in Fiji, a regional hub for Pacific Island Countries, Territories and States, and Mongolia. Prior to enrolment as a PhD candidate at The University of Queensland I worked with extractive industry managing biodiversity risk through project design and the mitigation hierarchy. This work related to the burgeoning social and environmental performance standards of multi-lateral financial institutions. Now I’m studying the responses of seabirds to the Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Program, a significant recent conservation intervention. All in all, a mixed bag.
I lived and studied in Belgium until 1989, when I migrated to Australia. Since graduating with First Class BSc (Hon) in Environmental Science (Aquatic Ecology) from Murdoch University in 1996, I have had extensive experience in ecological field monitoring and analysis, including sampling and analysis of phytoplankton, zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, fish, development of condition monitoring for river health. I joined the Murray-Darling Basin Commission/Authority (MDBA) in 2002 in Canberra as part of the Sustainable Rivers Audit team, and lead the SRA team as a Director from 2010-2013. During that time, I also completed a Master in Integrated Water Management with the International Water Centre, a program run through The University of Queensland on a part-time basis. The Masters’ program rekindled my interest in the international dimension of water resource management, and the challenges of good governance to achieve integrated river basin management, which I experienced first-hand during my long career at MDBA.
Bowie Soon Ket Chong
Born and raised in Sabah, Malaysia, I completed my undergraduate study at The University of Queensland in 2016. Currently, I am a PhD candidate with particular interests in the design, synthesis and photophysical studies of heteromultimetallic lanthanide complexes. During my undergraduate study at UQ, I was awarded three Summer Research Scholarships by The University of Queensland and an UROP scholarship by the Institute of Molecular Bioscience. These undergraduate research experiences have motivated me to pursue my PhD in the field of scientific research.
LLM, Grad Dip Enviro. Law, Grad Dip Legal Prac., LLB, BA
I’m a senior manager at a leading Australian energy company, and an Adjunct Professor at the UQ Energy Initiative. By way of career background, I’m a qualified solicitor and held executive roles in the public and private sectors. My experience ranges across politics, government, legal, strategy and corporate affairs in various industries. My expertise in strategy development and stakeholder engagement has led to the management of several highly complex social licence issues, as well as crisis situations. In 2016, I was selected to attend Harvard University’s inaugural program on Climate Change and Energy. Through both my industry and academic work, I am focused on establishing long-term, sustainable policy which balances the climate-energy nexus. I have a long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and improving the representation of women in leadership roles and, in 2015, was appointed as Chair of a diversity initiative.
Through my research I focus on global change in terms of the increased risk of emerging infectious diseases in modern society. A direct consequence of changing environments is that pathogens are having greater opportunity to come into contact with, and potentially switch to, new host species. I have recently begun my PhD, supervised by Dr. Jan Engelstaedter, investigating the host-shift dynamics of parasites within a host clade. In my project I am trying to understand the long-term dynamics and consequences of host-shift dynamics given the evolutionary relationships between host species, as well as try to determine predictable patterns in the distribution of pathogens using statistical and mathematical modeling. I use computer simulations to try to gain an understanding of the long-term evolutionary trends in host-switching. In particular, I would like to ascertain the contribution of evolutionary distance between host species on host-shift dynamics in contrast to ecological considerations.
I completed both my undergraduate and Masters degrees at UQ. I have always had an interest in science, in particular biological and physical sciences. I grew up watching documentaries and being incredibly fascinated by the world around me. It wasn’t until many years after graduating high school that I found my way back to science and haven’t looked back since. I first completed my BSc in Zoology and quickly followed that up with the Master of Conservation Science. I was then encouraged by my Masters supervisor to undertake a PhD. After much deliberation, I decided it had to be marine, it had to be applied, it had to be novel, and it had to have the potential to make a difference. In the end, that sent me to the bottom of the world. My project is investigating the threat of marine invasive species reaching the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica in a warming world.
Being curious about the natural sciences from an early age, it was inevitable that I would eventually end up in research. I was born in the UK, but raised in Brisbane and have studied and worked at UQ for the past six years. My Bachelor’s degree was focused on biomedical science, specifically immunology and infectious disease. I became fascinated with how our bodies defend themselves against pathogenic infection and joined A/Prof. Kate Schroder’s lab to develop my knowledge in this area. During my honours program, I investigated the different protein receptors that detect bacteria and viruses in our cells, which lead to several fruitful collaborations with interstate researchers. I am currently undertaking a PhD at UQ, investigating the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of inflammation. One day, I hope to apply my research to patients living with chronic inflammatory diseases. With our aging population and an increase in lifestyle-related disease across the world (such as neurodegeneration, diabetes and persistent pathogenic infections), it has never been more important to understand how our immune system functions.
Alana Renee Hutchison
I completed a year of a Bachelor of Arts, before enrolling in a Bachelor of Speech Pathology in 2012. I graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours Class I) in December 2016. Post-graduation I worked as a project officer with a large-scale clinical implementation project at a major tertiary hospital within Brisbane. My passion for research originated in the final two years of my undergraduate program when I engaged with and completed an honours project. To date, I have accrued a myriad of research experiences, formed invaluable relationships with industry leaders and world renowned academics and aspire to continue to engage with all opportunities provided to me. Through collaboration, employment of skills, knowledge, sheer hard work and determination, I hope to situate my discipline specific research within broader global contexts, in order to maximise change potential and improve outcomes for all involved stakeholders.
I migrated to Australia from the UK in 1997. After moving from Sydney to Brisbane, I developed an interest in the physical and social world and undertook a Bachelor of Arts with an extended major in Geography. Throughout my degree I became further interested in subjects related to socioecological systems, which relates to the interaction of humans and the environment. My Honours research project explored disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies on Emae Island, Vanuatu. This research developed a novel conceptual framework, based on the literature, to collect and analyse qualitative data in relation to Emae communities’ exposure and susceptibility of social and physical assets to environmental hazards, while also exploring the livelihood resilience of the communities to cope with disasters such as cyclone Pam in March 2015.
During my teenage years, I participated in various volunteer programs and interacted with culturally and socially diverse populations. After volunteering with underprivileged kids from the Bronx and at an orphanage in Nepal, I developed a desire to facilitate the development of disadvantaged communities. Through extensive travel, I have come to realise how much we need innovative ideas that can provide unique solutions to the challenges we face. I also have a fascination with the complexity of brain and how it modulates all human behaviours. As I result, I am now a PhD candidate at the Queensland Brain Institute. My research focuses on the role of oestrogen and selective oestrogen receptor modulators (a class of drugs that act on oestrogen receptors) during adolescence, on behaviours relevant to schizophrenia. After my PhD, I hope to eventually work with national and global organisations to develop and implement strategies to promote mental health well-being.
A PhD candidate and research assistant at the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), I completed my Bachelor of Arts (Hon) in Sociology at The University of Queensland in 2016 (focusing on representations of youth homelessness in Australian policy). I have previously completed two Summer Scholarships and one Winter Scholarship at ISSR, working in collaboration with institutes such as the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. This work has fuelled my interest in issues surrounding social disadvantage, policy, and practice. As such, my research interests include: Youth and families, gender and sexuality, social disadvantage, and social change.
I’m a dual medicine and research student at The University of Queensland with a background in neuroscience and pharmacology. I hope to develop a medical research and development company that strives to cure disease through an outcomes-based approach and first-principles thinking. My current research examines the role of dopamine – the chemical in the brain that underlies value judgements. At its best, dopamine allows for love, passion and decision-making, whilst at its worst, it causes addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. My thesis will explore how dopamine impacts the part of the brain that produces emotion; the region that makes us smile, scream, laugh and cry. By helping lay the foundations for understanding how emotions are felt and expressed, I hope to advance humanity towards cures for emotionally debilitating disorders
My passion for research and neuroscience began in the summer of 2012, when I was offered a summer research internship investigating basic mechanisms of addiction in rodent models. I was immediately captured by the challenge presented by breaking down complex and multifactorial problems such as mental health disorders into addressable questions. I further explored this ideology by continuing to work in Dr Francesco Leri’s laboratory during my BSc in Brain and Cognition at the University of Guelph and after completing an honors thesis applied to do my PhD with Dr Timothy Bredy, studying epigenetic mechanisms of fear memory. Here I hoped to continue to hone my skills at the microscopic level and further develop skills to help synthesis these observations at a macro-level to address basic questions such as how to reduce the impact of stressful memories in post-traumatic stress disorder from first principle. It is this mindset that I hope to be able to cultivate within the global change scholars program of taking large seemingly intractable problems such as climate change and separating them into solvable components which if answered may have impact.
I’m a registered architect, passionate about understanding and creating places that sustain communities. My professional experience includes mixed-use, commercial, educational and public architecture. I’m particularly interested in places that bring people together, and projects that contribute to city and community making. I recently volunteered with the Anganwadi Project in India. Based in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the state of Gujarat in India’s north-west, I worked for six months in close consultation with the local community to design and oversee construction of a preschool in the Ramapir No Tekro informal settlement. Working in disadvantaged communities in India has inspired my doctoral research at The University of Queensland. I'm studying small urban spaces in informal settlements to identify the form, structure and character of those places that sustain social, cultural and economic wellbeing.
Eunike (Nysa) McGowan
I have a Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Science) and Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) from the Queensland University of Technology. My Honours project focussed on developing an assay to quantify inflammatory cytokines in sheep and received a New Investigator grant from The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. Upon completion of my Honours, I was was employed by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service as a Research Assistant. During my three years in this position, I gained knowledge and laboratory skills while investigating the complexities of blood typing the RhD antigen when there is a gene variant. As a PhD student, I will be continuing to explore the realm of blood typing with the Blood Service and the ARC Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.
Shiva Raj Mishra
I’m a cardiovascular epidemiologist, trained in Australia and Nepal. I completed a Master’s of Public Health (Research Methos) from University of Western Australia under the prestigious Australia Award Scholarship (2015–2016), and I am a member of Nepal NCDI commission formed under the auspicious of the Global NCDI poverty commission, and The Lancet. At UQ, I’m interested in looking at the epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in Nepalese women, and how does that relate to countries with an already high burden of CVDs such as Australia, using the data from InterLACE database as well as doing primary level data collection in Nepal. My other interests include global non-communicable diseases and medicine policies research in low-income setting with an emphasis on cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. I wrote extensively about the disaster response and recovery in the aftermath of Nepal earthquakes, contributing to several publications. I am the founding Chief Editor of The Health Prospect and Assoc. Editor of BMC Public Health. Also, I served as a commissioner at The Lancet Youth Commission on Essential Medicine Policies (2015–2016), and freelance writer for The Lancet, The Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology and WHO Bulletin, contributing to several news features (2015-16).
I’m fascinated by how we can find natural products around the world and use them in biomedical and biotechnological applications. My PhD at the UQ Institute of Molecular Bioscience looks at the amazing and diverse chemistries in spider venoms and how we can use them to treat major parasitic diseases of both livestock and humans. I’m passionate about addressing equality in access to education and medicine and my goal is to see the end of neglected tropical diseases. I’m working in the science communication and education space to try to encourage STEM literacy and participation for young Australians. I hope to become a leader in research with connections to government, industry and other key stakeholder organisations so that I can ensure policy is evidence-based, that we have transparent communication between stakeholders, researchers and policymakers, and that research funding is equitably distributed to better our broader community.
I completed my Master's in Health Management (India) in 2004 and later completed another Masters in Public Health from Harvard University in 2008. I was selected as a Future Faculty Fellow by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) where I joined PHFI as a faculty member in 2008. Since 2008 I have been working with the PHFI as a faculty member involved in the areas of Teaching, Training and Research. I have taught Organisational Behavior (OB), Human Resource Management (HRM) to the Post Graduate Diploma students for seven years and Health Management to Masters of Public Health Students. I've been awarded two prestigious research fellowships and awards: one was the Welcome Trust in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK to study Human Resource for Health related policies and systems in Gujarat, India. The other was awarded by Public Health Research Initiative and Department of Science and Technology (DST), India.
Laura Simpson Reeves
I hold Master’s Degrees in Communication for Social Change and Policy and Applied Social Research, and my research has focused on using visual methods to encourage open dialogue and critical thought. My PhD with the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) will explore cultural perceptions of poverty and inequality, and how these are (re)produced. I have worked as a senior research officer at the ISSR and a research assistant with the UQ Centre for Communication for Social Change, and as a research communication adviser for Indonesia’s premier think tank on poverty-related issues, SMERU. Outside of research, my professional background spans print media, publishing, and developing materials for development and humanitarian professionals and practitioners.
After majoring in environmental studies, I worked on independent and group projects in Costa Rica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Honduras. A sucker for large marine animals, it was sea turtles that led me across the Atlantic to West Africa, where I did a year-long independent project with turtle by-catch and community conservation in a Ghanaian fishing village. I gained my MSc in Applied Marine Science at the University of Cape Town. I've spent the past few years working as a research and data science consultant, involved with monitoring fisheries and protected marine areas. I’m commencing my PhD under the supervision of A/Prof. Salit Kark. My research aims to use existing decision analysis and other software tools to improve the management of highly mobile marine species such as tuna, whales, and oceanic sharks.
I have a BA (International Relations & Spanish)/BCom (Accounting) plus a Master's Degree in Human Nutrition. My background also includes 10 years' experience working in the international development sector, including three years working for the Australian Government at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) in various areas including budgeting and human trafficking. I then moved to the private sector where I continued to work on Australian aid projects, including a global water, sanitation and hygiene program, a law and justice support program in Vanuatu, and an education program in Fiji. Through my work, I've developed an interest in the Pacific Region and particularly Vanuatu, where I will be exploring the nexus between climate change, food and nutrition security and non-communicable diseases. I aim to contribute further to the foreign aid sector through nutrition-related PhD research, informing policies and programs in the region and enhancing the advocacy of nutrition issues.
I'm a PhD candidate from UQ's School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE), where my research explores the use of neural networks for robotic control, and how these algorithms might be improved through the application of models of human ‘intuitive physics’. I graduated with a Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering (First class Honours) from UQ in 2014. Mechatronics is the field of study at the intersection of the software, electrical and mechanical engineering disciplines. During my degree studies, I tutored math, physics and engineering subjects, received an ITEE recognition award for excellence as a tutor in 2014. After graduating, I've worked as a research engineer with the UQ Dermatology Research Centre at the Translational Research Institute. A passion for research led me to join the global R&D division of Boeing, in 2015, as a research engineer. I'm part of a human factors psychology team, spearheading the next generation of pilot training, including the use of virtual and augmented reality technologies.
I hold a Bachelor and a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Padua, Italy. After working for a company designing photovoltaic plants, I moved to Australia where I became coordinator of the Stable Isotope laboratory at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. I gained expertise in stable isotope analyses by investigating the nitrogen cycle and measuring greenhouse gas emissions in tropical and subtropical cropping systems. I am currently undertaking a PhD, looking at energy recovery from wastewater treatment plants with the Water-Energy-Carbon group.
Xin Fu Tan
I graduated as a Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineer from the University of Melbourne with a first class honours degree. I started my career in the crane manufacturing industry with Favelle Favco Cranes as a Mechanical Engineer. I subsequently obtained my Master’s degree from Chalmers University in Sweden, in the field of Advanced Engineering Materials, completing my Master’s research thesis with Ericsson. Prior to commencement of her PhD candidature at UQ, I worked as a Senior Material Scientist in Hydrexia, a high-tech start-up company, focused on technical R&D and commercialisation of solid-state hydrogen storage device. With Hydrexia, I have has won multiple engineering and clean technology awards. Having developed an interest in the energy storage field from my work at Hydrexia, I am currently pursuing a PhD in Materials Engineering at UQ, working on lithium ion battery anode materials.
Before enrolling at UQ, I completed my Master’s degree in Forensic Genetics in Sun Yat-sen University, China. My previous research mainly focused on the identification of unrelated or related male individuals in Chinese populations. At UQ I have joined the Complex Trait Genomics program and continue to be interested in exploring potential applications of phenotype prediction based on genetic or epigenetic data in forensic practice. The outcomes can hopefully serve as “biological witness”, and may potentially provide even more accurate information than that provided by human eyewitnesses. I looks forward to exploring the practical applications of successful innovations to investigating crime and prosecuting offenders in the context of global change.