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Staff and student news and successes


Margo Brewer, Director Practice & Interprofessional Education, and Dr Helen Flavell, Coordinator, Scholarship of L&T, have been awarded an Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) research grant for the project ‘Do student-led interprofessional WIL placements enhance graduate attributes?’. Three grants were awarded to successful recipients from a pool of approximately 40 applications. Ms Brewer was also recently profiled in Focus on Fellows in Curtin’s Staff News.

Dr Eleanor Quested, Senior Research Fellow, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Professor Nikos Ntoumanis, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology and Associate Professor Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, have been awarded a Healthway grant worth $293,786 over two years for the project ‘Aussie Fans in Training: A weight loss program in sport settings’. Also on the project are Associate Professor Daniel Gucciardi, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Associate Professor Deborah Kerr, School of Public Health and Associate Professor Suzanne Robinson, School of Public Health.

Professor Simone Pettigrew, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, has been awarded a Healthway grant worth $75,000 for her project ‘Developing effective smoking cessation programs for the disadvantaged for delivery via community service organisations’.

Dr Takeshi Hamamura, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, has won a grant worth $8250 from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for his project ‘Working Holiday in Australia for Globalized Japan’.

Dr Kevin Keane and Professor Philip Newsholme, School of Biomedical Science, and Adjunct Clinical Professor John Yovich, PIVET Medical Centre, have been awarded $25,000 from Merck Serono for their project ‘The Role of Vitamin D in Male and Female Infertility’.

Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards

Researchers led by cell biology and cancer researcher, Professor Arunasalam Dharmarajan, School of Biomedical Science, won the Health Sciences Award for their therapeutic strategy entitled ‘Selectively Targeting Cancer using Peptides’. The strategy targets cancer stem cells by using peptides to inhibit the Wnt signal pathway, a crucial pathway for cancer cell survival. These peptides are candidates for the development of a new anticancer drug treatment that may be used in combination with existing cancer therapies.

A team from the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science won the Teaching and Learning Award for their Virtual Home Visit (VHV) Training Tool, a web-based virtual learning environment used to train health care professionals in home-based aged care. Team member Ms Anne Furness explained the VHV provides the learner with a ‘real’ experience where they identify falls risks and hazards and gain first-hand experience with social interactions relating to the care of the older adult. This information is used to develop an appropriate falls risk management plan which, when put into action, will assist the client to remain at home.

Matt Jones, Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA), won the Student Award, a prize of a scholarship to attend the Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship program, Ignition. AASQA is dedicated to providing tech career pathways for those on the autism spectrum. Matt will investigate a sustainable social business model for a high school outreach program for the Academy.


Adjunct Professor Giuseppe Danilo Norata, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Milan, and Center for the Study of Atherosclerosis, SISA Bassini Hospital Cinisello B. Italy visited the Faculty of Health Sciences to present a seminar, ‘Biology of proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin 9 (PCSK9): LDL cholesterol lowering and beyond’. Professor Norata also met with Pro Vice-Chancellor, Michael Berndt, Heads of School and senior lecturers.

Adjunct Professor Elizabeth Vincan, Head, Molecular Oncology Laboratory, University of Melbourne, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL), visited the School of Biomedical Sciences to present a seminar.


Professor Arunasalam Dharmarajan, School of Biomedical Sciences is on the organising committee of the 2nd World Congress on Cancer and Prevention Methods. The congress will be held in Singapore and will run from 7 November to 9 November 2016.

Natalie Williams, Research Officer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, has been chosen to present at the upcoming WIRF Rising Stars Symposium on the 15 September 2016. Ms Williams will be presenting the results of study she worked on, ‘Talking about sexuality: the perceptions of gynaecology cancer nurses’.

Dr Kevin Keane, Research Associate, School of Biomedical Sciences, was awarded a prize for his presentation at the ASMR WA Scientific Symposium in June.

Dr Julianne Crowley, Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, Mrs Arpana Dhar, Sessional Academic, School of Biomedical Sciences, and Associate Professor Georgina Fyfe, Dean, Learning & Teaching, presented the findings of their TEDF 2016 funded project, ‘Co-teaching – Can it be used to improve teacher engagement in higher education?’, at the STARS conference on 30 July 2016.

Professor Fergal O’Gara, Distinguished Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, presented a paper ‘Integrated (meta)genomic and Synthetic biology approaches for Bioactive Bio-discovery’ at the 1st International Conference on the Marine Microbiome, Discovery and Innovation from 27 to 30 June in Berlin, Germany. Professor O’Gara was also an invited contributor at the Science Foundation Ireland ‘Solid State Pharmaceutical’ conference at the University of Limerick Ireland on 1 June 2016. He presented a Masterclass on the application of Metagenomics for the discovery of new Biocatalysts. Professor O’Gara was also an invited speaker at the EU conference on Industrial application of Marine Enzymes in Dusseldorf, Germany on 27 April.  He addressed the topic of ‘Genomic mining of new Bioactive compounds’.

Alumni and student successes

WAIT alumnus, Noel Fosbery, took out the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s 2016 Pharmacist of the Year award. Noel has been described as a dedicated pharmacist who has worked to ensure his local community has access to a high level of primary health care and pharmacy services.  Noel has also been instrumental in developing innovative solutions to ensure access of opioid maintenance therapy in his local community and providing an easy to use solution for pharmacists Australia-wide.

Curtin alumnus, Joseph Foster, was awarded the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s 2016 Intern Pharmacist of the Year. Joseph was rewarded for being a leader since the first days of his internship and always looking for ways to improve the processes and procedures in the pharmacy to allow staff to deliver better service to patients and the community.  Joseph – who completed his internship at Brooks Garden Chemmart Pharmacy in Albany – triumphed over the other State and Territory finalists.

Psychology student, and UniPass Peer Learning Leader, Kate Tonta, has won an Australasian Peer Learning Award for her excellent work with UniPass, Curtin’s student-facilitated academic enhancement program.

New staff, farewells and new additions!

JB Philibert has recently joined the School of Biomedical Sciences as Teaching Support Coordinator. Born in France but having moved extensively from a young age, JB moved to Perth at the age of 16. JB worked at Murdoch in various positions within the International Office and in February 2015 he moved to Curtin as the new School Student Services Officer for the School of Pharmacy, a position he held until he was appointed as the Teaching Support Coordinator for the School of Biomedical Sciences in July 2016.

The Curtin Medical School welcomes four new staff members, Associate Professor Fraser Brims, Director of Early Years Clinical Training, Ms Jodie Ween, Curriculum Support Coordinator, Mrs Jenna Dawson, Student Services Officer and Mrs Jo Washington-King, Admissions Officer.

The School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science said farewell to Ms Karen Prideaux, School Business Manager, on Friday 5 August 2016.  Karen has just passed her 30 years of service for Curtin, and provided strong support and guidance for the school in her time as School Business Manager. We wish Karen all the best in her retirement.

The School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science’s new Business Manager, Ms Toni Johnson, commenced work on the 1 August 2016, having a week of handover with Karen Prideaux.  Toni comes to us from UWA, where she held several School Business Manager positions. Welcome Toni!

After an interesting career as a teacher, psychologist, Chief Executive Officer, academic teacher and researcher, Dr Alan Campbell, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, decided to ‘move away from ongoing employment’ at the end of June 2016. Alan has not retired, exactly, as he is still working with the school in various capacities including teaching of the Bachelor of Social Work, Honours and some research. Even though Alan is coming into the school for some work, his wise counsel, sense of humour and, last but not least, commitment to student learning using innovative and creative methods, which enabled him to work with like-minded colleagues, is dearly missed.

Dr Sarah Egan, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, had beautiful baby Chloe Jane on 25 June at 2.27am. Chloe weighed 4kgs and was 53 cm in length.


Congratulations to Dr Brian Brestovac, Lecturer, School of Biomedical Sciences, for 10 years’ service to Curtin University.