Faculty of Science

School of Human Sciences

A selection of current projects in the School is listed here.

We welcome you to discuss other research project ideas with us. To do this:
Domestic students can contact the Graduate Research Coordinator at the School or Centre in which you wish to undertake research.
International students can use our online enquiry form, which helps us match your research interests with a potential supervisor.

Investigating the role and formation of sub-nuclear bodies in disease
Sub-nuclear bodies called ‘paraspeckles’ are important in driving cancer progression and in other disease states. This project will dissect the molecular interactions underpinning paraspeckles as a route to development of novel therapies that alter paraspeckle prevalence in diseased cells.
Discovering the unknowns of tumour vasculature: Exploring the link between vascular geometry, haemodynamics and tumour growth
This project will extend a methodology we have recently developed for understanding feto placental vasculature to cancerous tumours.
Mechanotherapy for cancer patients using novel hydrogels
This project aims to encapsulate cancer tissues in their primary location to prevent them from migrating away (metastasising) while hydrogel materials release anti-cancer drugs at a controlled rate.
Stem cell mechanobiology
This project will enhance our understanding in mechanotransduction (cells transduce biophysical/mechanical signals into biochemical signals from cell membrane to nucleus) to program stem cells and to design biomaterials for stem cell therapy, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Fixing the ailing heart
We have identified a link between the entry of calcium into the heart and the supply of energy in the mitochondria. Calcium entry occurs via the L-type calcium channel. One way that the channel can influence energy production is through the movement of cytoskeletal (structural) proteins within the muscle cell. We activate the L-type calcium channel and use this to report mitochondrial function when testing treatments to improve cardiac function.
Placental vascularity
An optimal environment in pregnancy is crucial for appropriate fetal development and long term adult health outcomes. This project will use state-of-the-art imaging techniques to understand the pivotal role that the placenta plays in this process. We aim to better comprehend how disturbances in placental vascular development can impact on fetal growth and development. From this we aim to develop therapeutic interventions to enhance placental vascular development in compromised pregnancies.
Unravelling the social organisation of a primate super-group
This project is aimed at resolving the social organisation of a primate super-group which has implications for an understanding of human social evolution.
The Testosterone and Exercise study
We are investigating the independent and cumulative effects of testosterone administration and combined aerobic and resistance exercise training on cardiovascular health related outcomes in men.
The Brain Breaks study
The Brain Breaks study is a randomised control trial funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). We are investigating the effect of exercise with and without breaks in sitting time on cognitive function (primary outcome) and brain blood flow (secondary outcome), using state-of-the-art transcranial doppler technology, on older and overweight/obese subjects (55–80 years).
The Preventia study
The Preventia study will compare the effects of 6 months of land-based walking versus water-based on the health and function of arteries in the brain, and investigate whether one type of exercise is more effective to improve memory and cognition.
Exercise as medicine: Optimising the interventions to maximise the benefits
The aim of this project is to investigate the phenomenon of 'responsers' and 'non-responsers' to exercise training. Specifically, this study will test whether the pattern of responsiveness is linked to a trait that has been inherited (genetic) and/or the modality of exercise undertaken.
Filling the risk factor gap: How does exercise exert its cardiovascular benefits
Our research goal is to understand the beneficial effects of exercise on vascular function and health, with a specific focus on the role of blood flow and blood pressure.
A new type of exercise to improve the health of patients with heart failure
The purpose of this project is to comprehensively investigate the relative effectiveness of eccentric exercise training (ET), a novel training paradigm in patients with heart failure. Our aim is to compare the effects of ET to those of conventional concentric training (CT) in a superiority trial, where both forms of exercise are performed at a matched cardiovascular intensity i.e. an intensity that elicits the same heart rate response.
Sleeping your way to healthy arteries: Testing the mechanistic links between sleep, exercise and cardiovascular risk
This project will explore the link between vascular function and sleep.
The efficacy of pre-employment screening and work hardening programs on the rate of injury and fitness for work
This research project is novel as there is little information on the efficacy of pre-employment screening data on prediction of injury rates during subsequent employment.