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Articles categorized as ‘University of Queensland Research Programs’

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

UQ research students recognised for documenting “amazing work” of occupational therapists

Two Queensland research students have been recognised for documenting the “amazing work” occupational therapists do to help child asylum seekers in Australian detention facilities.

UQ research students recognised for documenting “amazing work” of occupational therapists

Find out more about studying OT at the University of Queensland

Kelly Mitchelson and Hannah Begg of the UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences earned acclaim at the Occupational Therapy Australia (Northern Territory/Queensland) annual conference.

“The well-being and rights of child asylum seekers are things I am very passionate about,” Ms Mitchelson said.

“We sought the perspectives of occupational therapists on what they saw as the needs and challenges faced by children in detention.

“The research also sought to understand how occupational therapists practice in this unique context.”

Ms Mitchelson noted that previous literature about occupational therapy and asylum seekers in Australia was limited and did not include research about services for children seeking asylum.

UQ research was gathered from interviews with 10 occupational therapists who had worked in Australian detention facilities. Their feedback included experiences of fear, deprivation and perceived insensitivity.

“One of the therapists said their main observation was detainees being stuck in the mindset of ‘Am I allowed to do this or will I be yelled at?’” Ms Mitchelson said.

Ms Mitchelson and Ms Begg received the Kryss McKenna Award from Occupational Therapy Australia for the best student presentation.

Featured in their presentation were drawings made by children before and after they engaged with occupational therapists, highlighting “a dramatic difference in content.”

Supervisor Dr Emma Crawford was full of praise for the UQ duo.

“They demonstrated extraordinary professionalism and sensitivity in their research project,” Dr Crawford said.

“Researching asylum seekers can be a sensitive area when discussing trauma, working within government legislation and policies, and balancing relationships with different stakeholders.

“The students have been outstanding representatives of UQ and have bright futures.”

Fellow UQ researchers Tim Barlott and Dr Merrill Turpin also featured in the study which the conference presentation was based upon.

UQ Occupational Therapy School

Master of Occupational Therapy Studies program equips graduate-entry students with the theoretical knowledge, clinical skills and professional attributes necessary for a career in occupational therapy.  In addition to a focus on clinical occupational therapy practice, emphasis is placed on the use of prior skills and knowledge to enhance the effectiveness of occupational therapy practice; and the development of advanced adult learning skills for ongoing professional development. In second year, management, research, and advanced clinical practice is covered.

Program: Master of Occupational Therapy Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Next semester intake: July 2017
Duration: 2.5 years
Application deadline: February 27, 2017

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Would you like more information about studying occupational therapy at the University of Queensland? Please contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Friday, October 14th, 2016

University of Queensland’s research excellence on the rise

The University of Queensland has risen two places in the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities, placing 43rd in the world and third in Australia.

Acting Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Joanne Wright said the rankings, compiled by National Taiwan University, showed UQ’s continued upward trajectory—UQ rose 11 places in the same rankings last year.

University of Queensland’s research excellence on the rise

University of Queensland’s ranks highly for its research excellence

“Earlier this year UQ jumped 22 places up the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities, to rank 55th globally and second in Australia,” she said.

“UQ’s continued success in international rankings such as this demonstrates that we are a high-quality university, especially when viewed against the increasingly strong competition of the world’s more than 10,000 universities.

“This achievement recognises the efforts and excellence of our researchers, staff, alumni and students, who all play a role in ensuring UQ continues to be a world-recognised leader in higher education.”

The Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities measures university performance based on scientific papers, research productivity and scholarly impact, and also ranks universities across six fields.

“I’m pleased to see UQ place first in Australia in Agriculture and in Social Sciences, a reflection of our outstanding work in these across a range of institutes, schools and faculties,” Professor Wright said.

The University of Queensland placed seventh globally for Agriculture, and 25th for Social Sciences.

UQ’s results in other field rankings:

  • Third nationally and 64th globally for Engineering
  • Second nationally and 41st globally for Life Sciences
  • Sixth nationally and 141st globally for Natural Sciences
  • Fourth nationally and 79th globally for Clinical Medicine

Earlier this year, UQ placed number one in Australia in the Nature Index Top Academic Institutions, 51st globally in the QS World Rankings and 52nd in the US News Best Global University Rankings.

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Discover more about studying at the University of Queensland!

Friday, October 7th, 2016

UQ speech pathology researcher giving critically ill patients a voice wins 3MT

A PhD candidate whose research is giving a voice back to critically ill patients has won the University of Queensland’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final.

UQ speech pathology researcher giving critically ill patients a voice wins 3MT

Anna-Liisa Sutt has won the UQ 3MT final (Photo: UQ)

Anna-Liisa Sutt, a speech pathologist at Prince Charles Hospital and a UQ School of Medicine researcher, won both the overall and people’s choice awards for her presentation “Dying to Talk.”

Runner-up was Thisun Piyasena from the UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, whose presentation was titled “Taming the chimera.”

Ms Sutt said her research was inspired by patients in intensive care units left voiceless by breathing tubes for ventilation.

“These vulnerable patients were desperate to communicate but were unable to talk because there was no air movement through their voice box,” she said.

“A speaking valve existed that could give them back their voice, but was not being widely used due to concerns that it could be harmful to patients’ lungs.

“My research showed that patients who used the speaking valve had better lung function, and it is now being used at Prince Charles Hospital.”

Ms Sutt is supervised by Professor John Fraser from UQ and Dr Petrea Cornwell from Griffith University.

3MT is a globally recognised competition developed by UQ.

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Find out more about the UQ speech pathology program. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Speech Pathology Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Monday, September 19th, 2016

UQ speech pathology researcher uses app to help stroke survivors

Dr Caitlin Brandenburg’s award-winning research is certainly something to get people talking.

The UQ speech pathology pioneer will soon begin testing a second version of CommFit, an app-connected device that encourages stroke survivors to speak more frequently.

UQ speech pathology researcher uses app to help stroke survivors

UQ speech pathology researcher Dr Caitlin Brandenburg (Photo: UQ)

“By measuring vibration through the collarbone using an accelerometer, we can tell how much the wearer has talked throughout the day,” Dr Brandenburg said.

“It’s essentially a language pedometer that is paired with personalised tasks to assist people to get better at conversation, and also more involved and engaged with their community.

“The idea is based on principles of neuroplasticity, being that as the brain repairs after damage you want to repeatedly practise the skills you want to improve.

“A lot of current speech rehabilitation methods revolve around naming pictures or singular tasks, which isn’t directly transferable to everyday conversation like CommFit is.”

CommFit, short for Communicative Fitness, is primarily targeted at people living with aphasia, an impairment of language production and comprehension that affects 80,000 Australian stroke survivors.

Dr Brandenburg said the refined CommFit pedometer, based on an earlier trial version, was more accurate, easier to wear, had longer battery life, and was more reliable and affordable.

“Our aim is to continue to develop it so it is as small as possible, as simple as possible and as affordable as it can be made.”

Early career researcher Dr Brandenburg, 26, has received encouragement on several fronts. She has won a $15,000 UQ Collaboration and Industry Engagement Fund grant; National Heart Foundation Vanguard and National Stroke Foundation Seed grants to develop the CommFit app; was a top-10 finalist for the Queensland Fresh Science competition; and her abstract on CommFit won the Stroke Society of Australasia Nursing and Allied Health Scientific Award.

UQ speech pathology researcher uses app to help stroke survivors

The second version of CommFit is being tested now (Photo: UQ)

UQ Collaborators on the CommFit project are Professor Linda Worrall and Professor Dave Copland.

Dr Emma Power of the University of Sydney and Dr Amy Rodriguez of the Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation (USA) are also involved with CommFit.

UQ Speech Pathology program

The UQ speech pathology program is an accelerated program for students who have already completed an undergraduate degree. The program 2.5 years in length and will prepare graduates for a career in speech path across any of the diverse areas in which speech pathologists practice, such as education, health or private practice.

Program: Master of Speech Pathology Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Next intake: July 2017
Duration: 2.5 years
Application deadline: February 27, 2017

Apply to UQ Speech Pathology School!

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For more information about speech pathology program entry requirements, application deadlines, tuition fees, and more, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Speech Pathology Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Friday, July 8th, 2016

National honour for UQ veterinary researcher

A University of Queensland veterinary virologist who is playing a key role in reducing animal diseases in developing countries has received the prestigious Kesteven Medal at the national Australian Veterinary Association 2016 conference in Adelaide.

National honour for UQ veterinary researcher

Professor Jo Meers accepting her award at the recent AVA conference in Adelaide (Photo: UQ)

Associate Professor Joanne Meers of UQ’s School of Veterinary Science was awarded the medal for “distinguished contributions to international veterinary science by providing technical and scientific assistance to developing countries.”

Associate Professor Meers said she was honoured and humbled to receive the award.

Head of School Professor Glen Coleman congratulated Dr Meers and said her research brought further credit to the school, which this year celebrates its 80th anniversary.

“Joanne joined the university as a senior lecturer in veterinary virology in 2000, and was appointed Associate Professor in 2007. She is the school’s Director of Research and previously was our postgraduate coordinator.

“Her research has benefited people across the globe, from demonstrating the economic and biosecurity benefits of a thermostable Newcastle disease vaccine for chickens of smallholder farmers in Myanmar, to capacity building and the increased development of diagnostics of viral diseases of livestock, or to leading a greater understanding of the role domestic ducks play in avian influenza in Vietnam and Indonesia.”

UQ Veterinary School’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science Honours program

The vet program at the UQ Veterinary School is one of the most sought after in Australia, attracting the very best students and producing veterinarians that are in high demand, both domestically and internationally. The university’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science provides the broadest base in the biological sciences of any undergraduate course and provides a very wide range of career options as well as its professional qualifications, enabling graduates to practice veterinary medicine and surgery.

Program: Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours)
Location: Gatton, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 5 years
Application deadline: UQ Veterinary School has a general application deadline of November 30; however, late applications may be accepted. Candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Apply to the UQ School of Veterinary Science!

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If you have any questions about studying at UQ Veterinary School, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Veterinary Schools Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or 1-866-698-7355.

Friday, May 20th, 2016

The world found Nemo, but can we save him?

We all know the heart-warming tale of Finding Nemo, but clownfish populations on coral reefs have been declining since the film’s release, due to the popularity of a ‘Nemo’ in household aquariums.

Researchers from the University of Queensland and Flinders University have teamed up in an effort to ensure Nemo can be found exactly where he should be—in his sea anemone home on coral reefs.

Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva and Anita Nedosyko

Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva and Anita Nedosyko (Photo credit: UQ)

The Saving Nemo Conservation Fund aims to provide education, awareness and captive breeding programs to protect popular marine ornamental species that are often captured on reefs for sale in pet shops.

UQ School of Biological Sciences PhD candidate and Saving Nemo Queensland Project Coordinator Carmen da Silva said the marine fish aquarium trade was a major cause of coral reef fish decline.

“What most people don’t realise is that about 90 per cent of marine fish found in aquarium shops come from the wild,” she said.

“Reef fish populations are already struggling due to warmer sea temperatures and ocean acidification caused by global warming.

“The last thing they need is to be plucked off reefs.”

The team has started an ambitious campaign to raise a million fish kisses on social media with the hashtag #fishkiss4nemo.

They hope to capture the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who voices the loveable yet forgetful Dory in Finding Nemo and the upcoming sequel, Finding Dory.

Saving Nemo co-founders and Flinders University researchers Anita Nedosyko and Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva said the release of the sequel in June could cause a resurgence of ornamental species being pilfered from reefs—this time Dory’s species, the blue tang.

Miss Nedosyko said people took the wrong message from the film.

“People fell in love with the adorable characters and wanted to keep them as pets, instead of understanding the film’s conservation message of keeping Nemo in the ocean where he belongs,” she said.

Professor Burke da Silva said the team has been running a clownfish breeding program for the past five years, selling sustainable clownfish to local aquariums.

“Clownfish are extremely easy to breed and females lay many eggs at a time so there is really no reason to collect them from the wild. Nursery-bred fish are also far happier and healthier in tanks than wild-caught fish,” she said.

The researchers are also examining how anemone venom can be used as a bio-active anti-cancer product.

You can give a #fishkiss4nemo on social media or go to www.savingnemo.org to get involved with the campaign.

Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland

The UQ School of Biological Sciences is situated on the St Lucia campus in Brisbane and is part of the Faculty of Science. Academic staff conduct research in evolution, global change biology, ecology, aquaculture, behaviour, physiology, entomology, zoology, botany, genomics, development and conservation biology. World-class infrastructure, proximity to stunning habitats and biodiversity, and UQ’s tropical-subtropical location contribute to its unique working environment.

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Are you interested in studying science at the UQ School of Biological Sciences? Find out more by emailing OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

UQ still Australia’s number one in influential Nature Index

The University of Queensland is again Australia’s highest-ranking institution on the Nature Index, further strengthening its global reputation as a top-tier research organisation.

UQ Sciences

UQ still Australia’s number one in influential Nature Index (Photo credit: UQ)

The index rates institutions and countries according to the number and quality of research publications across 68 of the world’s leading science journals, including journals within and outside the Nature publishing group.

UQ has retained the top spot as Australia’s highest-ranking university in the 2016 top academic institutions and top institutions tables.

The university has held the top position in Australia for the past two years.

The index ranks UQ at 89 among the world’s top academic institutions, and at 27 in the Asia-Pacific.

Harvard University ranks as the leading academic institution worldwide, followed by Stanford University. Monash University ranks at 93 globally, the Australian National University at 100, and the University of Melbourne at 130.

The rankings are based on the “weighted fractional count,” considered the most indicative of various measures that Nature Index publishes.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said UQ continued its formidable performance in the life sciences—in fields including biology, microbiology, neuroscience, genetics, medicine and biotechnology.

“The index records that in 2015 the majority of UQ publications included in the Nature Index were the Life Sciences (weighted fractional count 47.17), followed by Chemistry (36.7), the Physical Sciences (18.72), and then Earth and Environmental Sciences  (7.14),” Professor Høj said.

He said the rankings highlighted the importance of collaboration between researchers and institutions.

“The vast majority of UQ’s research is co-published with other organisations, giving our researchers collaboration opportunities with many of the highest-ranked experts in the world.

“Equally, the world has access to UQ’s finest minds in the many areas where we have leading expertise.

“In this way, diverse knowledge and perspectives are brought to bear on problems we are tackling to create change to build a better world.”

Nature Index recently opened unrestricted access to annual tables showing the output of articles published from 2012 to 2015 from more than 8000 institutions worldwide.

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Contact OzTREKK for more information studying science at the University of Queensland and about how you can study in Australia! Email Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

UQ psychology research: Flipping Fifty Shades eroticises equality

Christine Grey would have been just as sexy as Christian Grey as the lead character in Fifty Shades of Grey – and resulted in less ambivalence about rape.

In a study of almost 500 people, UQ School of Psychology researcher Emily Harris has found that equality can be just as erotic as dominance and that stories depicting male dominance can impact negatively.

UQ psychology

UQ School of Psychology researcher Emily Harris (Photo credit: UQ)

“Our research shows that reading about a sexually submissive woman may increase the acceptance of rape myths among men,” Ms Harris said.

“Reading about a fictional woman who enjoys sexual submission may lead to the false belief that women may enjoy rape.

“Furthermore, we found that men and women were equally sexually aroused by a story depicting a dominant man and an erotic story in which the man was not dominant.”

In the Fifty Shades Flipped study, UQ School of Psychology PhD student Ms Harris and co-authors Michael Thai and Dr Fiona Barlow (Griffith University) gave 481 participants one of four different stories to read before monitoring responses.

One story centred on male dominance, one on female dominance, one on a man and woman of equal sexual standing, and one story that was completely non-erotic.

Ms Harris said the research provided some encouraging results towards possible treatment of sexual disorders.

“The finding that all three erotic stories were equally arousing may have important implications for sex therapy,” Ms Harris said.

“Past research has shown that the more a woman associates sex with submission, the less sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction she feels. This emphasises the need to ‘eroticise equality.’

“Our findings provide promising evidence that a focus away from female submission does not mean a decrease in sexual arousal.

“The stories describing female dominance or no dominance were equally arousing and less likely to perpetuate the belief in women that sex and submission are necessarily linked.

“What we read does impact how we view the world, so it can be very dangerous if we only read one highly gendered type of narrative. Just like our sex lives, our erotic fantasies need more variety.”

Ms Harris said she was interested to test the effects of popular erotica in non-heterosexual contexts.

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Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Psychology Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith to learn more about the University of Queensland’s psychology degrees. Email Adam at adam@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

UQ asks: Could we build a Star Wars lightsaber?

Unless you’ve been living in exile on Dagobah, you’ve probably noticed that Star Wars: Episode VII screened around the world recently.

Many elements of the Star Wars franchise have become icons of popular culture: none more so than the lightsaber.

While the lightsaber is a fictional weapon, it is an undeniably ingenious invention—compact and lightweight with a hypnotising beam that can effortlessly cut through steel.

But what would it take to actually build one?

The University of Queensland’s theoretical physicists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS) explain the possibilities.

 

According to physics researcher Martin Ringbauer, the main problem with building a lightsaber is controlling a beam of light.

“You can’t just make a laser stop without it hitting something solid or being reflected back on itself with a mirror,” Mr Ringbauer says. “Light doesn’t like to interact with itself, so two beams of light would actually pass through each other—which wouldn’t be very useful in a fight.”

Even if a beam of light could be controlled, the next problem is generating enough energy in the small hilt of a lightsaber to power a laser.

“Currently, we have very powerful industrial lasers that can cut through steel, used, for example, in car manufacturing,” Mr Ringbauer says.

“We also have laser weapons which companies like Boeing have developed to shoot down drones; however, these are more like the size of trucks to generate enough power to fire the laser—far from a handheld weapon.”

How we are using lasers today

Using lasers in everyday life might sound futuristic, but physics researcher James Bennett says they  are actually all around us.

“These days everyone has lasers in their home for digital optical storage like DVDs,” Mr Bennett says. “And of course a lot of our internet is completely reliant on lasers.”

EQuS researchers are working to take lasers to the next step in fundamental research and market applications.

“We can use lasers to control atoms, how they move and what their energy is,” Mr Bennett says.“This lets us build very sensitive machines to measure local gravity, which would let us find resources in the ground, for example.

“What I’m looking at is using light to control vibrations, so we could heat or cool objects by removing or adding vibrations.”

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Contact OzTREKK for more information studying science at the University of Queensland and about how you can study in Australia! Email Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Attenborough interactive website highlights UQ reef research

University of Queensland scientific research on the Great Barrier Reef is in the international spotlight with the recent launch of an interactive website to complement a BBC television series released on Dec. 30, 2015.

Conservationist Sir David Attenborough and Atlantic Productions teamed with scientists and academic institutions—including UQ—involved in coral science to create the David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef: An Interactive Journey website.

UQ reef research

Sir David Attenborough introducing the interactive website (Image credit: UQ)

The site focuses on four Great Barrier Reef locations, including the UQ Heron Island Research Station near Gladstone, and Lady Elliot Island, the locations of UQ’s Project Manta, funded by the Australian Research Council and industry.

UQ Heron Island Research Station manager Dr Elizabeth Perkins said the station’s boating and diving officer, Ben Potts, featured in a video on the website.

“It’s fantastic to have the research station featured,” Dr Perkins said. “Our staff were excited to have the team on site, to watch them set up shots, and to take Sir David to various locations. He’s a remarkable person.”

Mr Potts said it was a privilege to work at the station, with its fully equipped scientific laboratories only 20m from the beach, and to know that scientific information collected there was playing an important role in policy development.

UQ Global Change Institute director Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who was interviewed for the series, said researchers had created a little part of the Great Barrier Reef in experimental tanks at the Heron Island Research Station.

By subjecting coral to different conditions, marine scientists were able to closely model the effects of climate change.

“If we act on ocean warming and acidification and climate change in general, we’ll still have some of the corals left,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

“As we stabilise conditions on the planet, we will get the Great Barrier Reef re-growing.

“I think that’s really important—that it’s not all over. We still have time to act, and it’s worth acting.”

Professor Gregg Webb of the UQ School of Earth Sciences also features in the series.

Professor Webb is co-leader of an international team recovering high-quality core samples from One Tree Reef in the southern Great Barrier Reef, with the purpose-built UQ research vessel, the RV D. Hill.

Sir David’s team filmed UQ Moreton Bay Research Station Education Coordinator Dr Kathy Townsend underwater with manta rays and interviewed her about manta ray research at Lady Elliot Island.

Dr Townsend, Professor Mike Bennett of UQ’s School of Biomedical Sciences and other Project Manta researchers will have an ongoing reminder of Sir David.

The UK team filmed a manta—of a species they had not seen before—in amorous mode, and the researchers subsequently dubbed it “Attenborough.”

“Sir David was quite chuffed to have a manta ray named after him,” Dr Townsend said.

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Are you interested in studying environmental sciences or marine science at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston for more information at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.