Faculty of Science

Rising Stars 2016

Further information

Read about 2015 presentations

At the 2016 Rising Stars event, guests voted for their favourite Rising Star, with the top three receiving a boost to their research funding.

The 2016 winning presentations

The Faculty has benefited from a number of philanthropic gifts for the specific purpose of recognising early career researchers and is able to offer a prize pool of $20,000 this year. This year's winners were:

Dr Tristan Clemons

First prize: $10,000.

Dr Helena Viola

Second prize: $6000.

Dr Elizabeth Newnham

Third prize: $4000.


Dr Eloise Biggs
Beyond boiling: How climate variability is brewing up change in the tea industry

The climate of northeast India is changing, impacting tea production and affecting the livelihoods of millions of labourers dependent upon the tea industry. Such impacts have important consequences for the sustainability of global tea value chains and efforts are need to make tea production more climate-smart.
Dr Tristan Clemons
Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery: Tiny Particles Making a Big Difference

My research is based around the development of nanoparticles one thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair. These tiny particles have the potential to revolutionise how we currently treat injuries and diseases, such as burns and cancer, by improving drug delivery and avoiding negative side effects.
Dr Stephanie King
Team of Rivals: The importance of communication in the evolution of cooperation

Cooperation between allied individuals is a defining feature of human society, and is also evident in other cognitively advanced taxa. However, the role that communication plays in the emergence of such cooperative behaviour remains unclear. Using dolphins as a model system, I explore how communication strategies have evolved to facilitate alliance formation.
Dr Tim Langlois
No-take marine reserves: Optimising biodiversity and human benefits

The old, climatically buffered and infertile marine ecosystems of Western Australia provide a powerful assay with which to study processes driving biogeographic patterns. However, recent acute marine heatwaves have led to the disruption of macroecological patterns. I present tools for understanding and managing a changing western Australian marine ecosystem.
Dr Melissa Licari
Neural Mechanisms of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

DCD is the most prevalent childhood movement disorder and long suspected to reflect deficits in neurological organisation and function. This presentation will discuss pioneering neuroimaging work happening at UWA related to this disorder, along with future work to examine the relationship between genetics, brain development and behaviour.
Dr Mark Lindsay
Uncertainty, geoscientific modelling and the value of information

Geological models play an increasingly important role in mineral exploration, mining, groundwater management and hazard detection. These models are approximate predictions of the Earth, which reduces their reliability by being wrong in some way. I want to know how they are wrong, and what can be done about it.
Dr Monika Murcha
Dissecting macromolecule targeting pathways

How do we unravel the mechanisms of protein import and macromolecule targeting to plant organelles and key regulatory elements that control cell activity, growth and responses to environmental stress? Dissecting these pathways provides us with opportunities to modify cellular energy efficiency to meet the demands of a growing population.
Dr Elizabeth Newnham
Improving child mental health outcomes in humanitarian crises

Each year an estimated 280 million people are affected by wars and disasters globally; children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable. This presentation will highlight the key mental health risk factors for young people affected by humanitarian crises, and illustrate our work in implementing effective treatments to address complex trauma.
Dr Sascha Schediwy
Synchronisation of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope

The Square Kilometre Array radio telescope will be the most complex astronomical instrument ever built, requiring the coherent combination of astronomical signals collected by hundreds of antennas, spread over continental scales.

My research involves designing and building an optical fibre-based synchronisation system that delivers ultra-precise timing signals to each antenna.
Dr Helena Viola
Novel therapies for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Cardiac hypertrophy is the most common genetic cardiovascular disorder and the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in children. No treatment exists. We have identified a novel drug that will reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death in children.