Science & Technology

AFAS Victoria / AFAS FEAST-France Fellows – 2004-2016

 2004 Fellows

The inaugural presentation of three AFAS FEAST-France Fellowships was made in 2004.  In presenting the awards, Alain Moulet, Scientific Counsellor at the French Embassy, indicated that the fellowships were symbolic of the French commitment "to increasing our investment down under, especially as Victoria is considered to be at the forefront of innovation and research."

The three inaugural Fellows were Serryn Eagleson, Rick Barber and Micah Atkin.

For her work in urbanisation with the help of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Serryn Eagleson was put in contact with the French Government Agency DATAR, responsible for urbanisation and regional planning, as well as a couple of companies involved in space applications.

For Rick Barber and Micah Atkin, both undertaking research in micro-nanotechnology, visits were arranged to one of the world leaders in micro-fabrication, Léti in Grenoble, together with introductions to the French Micro-Nanotechnology Network (RMNT).

2004 Fellows
Pictured Left to right – John Acton, AFAS Victorian President, Serryn Eagleson, Pierre Seillan,
Deputy Head of Mission - French Embassy, Hon John Brumby, Minister for Innovation, Rick Barber and Micah Atkin

On 3 July 2009, Micah Atkin was presented with the INNOVIC International Next Big Thing Award2009 for the handheld medical diagnostic system subsequently developed by him.  For information on this ground-breaking diagnostic tool, please refer to the article which appeared in The Australian newspaper of 18 July 2009.

 2005 Fellows

The AFAS FEAST-France Fellows for 2005 were Thanh Tam Chau, Hayley Newton and John Papandriopolous.

Thanh Tam Chau Thanh Tam Chau
At the time of receiving her award, Thanh Tam Chau was a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, where she was investigating the behaviour of emulsions at nanoscale.  Emulsions are key components in the manufacture of many foods, paints resins,pharmaceuticals and even explosives.  Ms Chau's research focussed on the effect of stabilisers on the interaction between droplets in emulsions with a view to understanding the structure-function relationships between stabilisers and oils in emulsions.
Hayley Newton
Hayley Newton was at the time a PhD candidate within the Department of Microbiology at Monash University.  She was investigating Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium that causes Legionnaire's disease, a rare and often life-threatening form of pneumonia.  L. pneumophilia is found in water ways, potting mix and artificial systems that use water for cooling, heating and industrial processes.  Through comparisons with other species of Legionella, Hayley has identified three genes that appear to be involved in L. pneumophilia's ability to cause disease in human cells.
Hayley Newton
John Papandriopoulos John Papandriopoulos
John Papandriopoulos was a PhD candidate within the ARC Special Research Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN), University of Melbourne.  He was developing new ways to improve the performance of wireless sensor networks which are expected to have a significant impact on many activities such as industrial automation, security monitoring and traffic control.  Physically tiny and cheap to deploy, sensors will soon find their way into a wide range of machines and devices.  They communicate through a wireless network – a new kind of  "internet for machines" – to create a system that is more powerful than its individual parts.
In October/November 2007, John featured both on the radio and in the press in relation to his development of an algorithm to reduce the electromagnetic interference that slows down ADSL ( Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line ) internet connections.  To view a copy of the article which appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald,  please
click here.


 2006 Fellows

The AFAS FEAST-France Fellows for 2006 were Bryan Fry, Hadi Lioe and Paul Stoddart.

Bryan Fry
Therapeutic potential of bioactive natural products
Bryan Fry benefitted from his Fellowship to investigate the evolution of the biochemical, molecular, structural and functional properties of animal venom proteins, with a particular emphasis on harnessing the natural power of potently active molecules.  He also took the opportunity to strengthen his links with colleagues from the Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris) with whom he jointly published a paper in Nature in February 2005 – Early Evolution of the Venom System in Lizards and Snakes.
Bryan Fry
Hadi Lioe
Hadi Lioe
Ion Mass Mobility Spectrometers
Hadi Lioe travelled to France to undertake some investigations at the Laboratoire de Spectrométrie Ionique et Moléculaire in Lyon.  His studies related to the G-quadruplex structures found in certain strands of DNA (the telomeres) that are ultimately involved in cell death.  Specifically, using an ion-mobility mass spectrometer, he studied how various molecules could be used to stabilise these G-quadruplex structures.  As such investigations increase the understanding of how various biomolecules interact, it is hoped that this knowledge can be instrumental in the development of treatments for cancer.
Paul Stoddart
Laser-based methods to measure chemical concentrations
The aim of Paul Stoddart's visit to France was to investigate the manufacturing possibilities of a patented laser-based method to provide immediate chemical concentration measurements such as those needed for glucose testing for diabetics, and water quality testing.  He spent time at the Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel exploring the potential for fabricating arrays of oriented carbon nanotubes on optical fibres.
Paul Stoddart

 2007 Fellows

The AFAS FEAST-France Fellows for 2007 were Bryony Nayagam, Simon Craig and Andrew Walter.

Bryony Nayagam Bryony Nayagam
Auditory neuroscience and stem cell biology
Bryony is involved in the development of techniques for restoring the function of the auditory nerve which transmits sound information to the brain – by replacing the specialised cells, called auditory neurons, that comprise it.  Although related to cochlear implants, Bryony's study has broad implications for the emerging field of neural transplantation – including for Parkinson's Disease and spinal cord injury – as transplanted cells must function in a normal manner if they are to benefit patients.
Bryony devoted her Fellowship funds to working, between 15 and 26 September 2008, with Senior Research Scientist Dr Marc Lenoir at the Institut des Neurosciences de Montpellier (INM), in the field of immuno-electron microscopy.

During 2008, the research being undertaken by Bryony Nayagam (née Coleman) featured in two French publications, the March 2008 edition (No.121) of Audio Infos (p.93), and the May-June 2008 edition (No.1) of Audiology Infos (p.40).

The articles deal with the engraftment of stem cells into the deafened cochlea, which is a developing and challenging area of auditory neuroscience, expected to produce several benefits for cochlear implant recipients as well as informing related cell-replacement therapies in both the peripheral and central nervous systems.  In particular, the articles address a number of considerations that require thorough investigation before this therapy becomes clinically feasible.

Audio Infos No.121 Audiology Infos No.1
Simon Craig Simon Craig
Fluid Fertilisers
Over the past 10 years, the use of fluid fertilizers in Australia has increased dramatically, especially in Western Australia and South Australia.  In Victoria, fluid fertilizer use is limited.  Research into its use for broad-acre cropping began in Victoria in 2001, but this research has been hindered by the drought.  Simon used his visit to France for gathering knowledge on the compatibility of fluid fertilizers with added fungicides and micronutrients.  This knowledge will be passed on to Victorian farmers and inform their uptake of fluid fertilizers.
Andrew Walter
Spintronics and quantum computing
In response to consumer demand for ever-smaller and faster devices, the electronics industry has identified the emerging fields of spintronics and quantum computing as the next step in the manufacture of electronic components.  Andrew participated in an international conference in France, dealing with the electronic and magnetic properties of nanometre thin metallic films to see if they are suitable for data storage applications.  His ongoing investigation includes manufacturing the films as well as designing and constructing equipment to analyse them.
Andrew Walter

 2008 Fellows

The AFAS FEAST-France Fellows for 2008 were Adrian Orifici and Amy Richards.

Adrian Orifici Adrian Orifici
Aerospace Composite Materials
In recent years the aerospace industry has seen a rapid increase in the use of high-strength, lightweight, fibre-reinforced plastics known as composites.  Aerospace technologies are also expanding to include "smart structures" that monitor their own level of damage.
Adrian's study tour involved a one-week stay in Paris for visits to the leading institutions EADS Innovation Works, LMT-Cachan, ONERA and Ecole des Mines de Paris.  This involved exchanging research results from RMIT University and the Composites CRC, and discussions regarding opportunities for collaboration as well as future directions in aerospace and composites.
A presentation delivered by Adrian on his study tour may be viewed by
clicking here.
Amy Richards
Lipids for the Future : From Agro-resources to Human Health
Fats and oils are a major and essential component of food.  They play a significant role in its texture, sensory characteristics and nutrition.  There is a move toward reducing the saturated and trans fat content in food and replacing it with healthier fats and oils.  It is also important to maintain the food quality and stability to which consumers are accustomed.  However, this requires a better understanding of the structural properties of these healthy fats, their physical characteristics during food preparation and storage, and their resistance to rancidity.
Amy's fellowship has given her the opportunity to participate in the 5th GERLI Lipidomics Meeting, held in France on 21-23 October 2008, as well as to develop collaborative links with the French Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Amy Richards

 2009 Fellows

The AFAS FEAST-France Fellows for 2009 were Sally Gras, Martin Leahy and Joanne Devlin.

Sally Gras Sally Gras
Dairy Product Microstructure
Understanding how raw components such as starter bacteria, milk protein and fat globules interact to form cheese is of intense interest to the Victorian dairy industry, in its bid to craft different varieties and textures of cheese and to turn low value products into innovative new ingredients.
Sally spent most of her time in France at the research centre of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in Rennes (Brittany), with shorter visits to a number of other sites.  She also took the opportunity of undertaking a module of the European Dairy Technologist Soft Cheese course run by the National Dairy School at Poligny.  Her aim was to learn about advances in the understanding and control of dairy product microstructure and progress in functional food research.  She hopes her fellowship will build Victoria's capability in this area, ensuring that the Victorian dairy industry remains internationally competitive by boosting quality, reducing waste and decreasing risk associated with manufacture.
Sally is an early career researcher who trained as both an engineer and biologist.  She is a lecturer in Metabolic Engineering at the University of Melbourne and also leads a bioengineering research group at the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute.  She received her PhD from Cambridge University, UK in 2006.
Martin Leahy
Carbon Dioxide Sequestration
Understanding how to store carbon dioxide safely is particularly important for Victoria given its current dependence on brown coal for electricity generation.  Martin visited Schlumberger Carbon Services in suburban Paris and the Bureau Recherches Géologiques Minières (BRGM) in Orléans, with the aim of improving his understanding of carbon dioxide storage modelling and simulation.  He believes that his study tour has provided important technical guidance required by industry to help in the development and evaluation of carbon storage in Victoria.
Martin is currently undertaking a postdoctoral fellowship with CSIRO Petroleum Resources in Clayton.  He completed his PhD at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the University of Melbourne in 2006.
Martin Leahy
Joanne Devlin Joanne Devlin
Herpes Infections in Animals
Herpes viruses are a leading cause of disease in domestic animals and wildlife.  They have evolved in animals over 200 million years.  Once inside the animal, these viruses can hide from the immune system, establishing lifelong infections.
Joanne Devlin, a veterinarian and lecturer in Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne, is researching new methods to control and prevent animal disease caused by these viruses.  She visited the Toulouse National Veterinary College, with the aim of learning more about how a viral protein, glycoprotein G, interacts with the immune system of birds.  This research is expected to assist in developing novel vaccines to control disease in a wide range of animal species.
Joanne graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours) from the University of Sydney in 2001 and worked in private veterinary practice in Victoria before starting her PhD.  As well as lecturing, she is an Australian Research Council postdoctoral research fellow.  She completed her PhD at The University of Melbourne in 2006.

 2010 Fellows

The AFAS Victoria Fellows for 2010 are Suzanne Ftouni and Baohua Jia.

Suzanne Ftouni
Motor Vehicle Collisions and Drowsiness
Feelings of drowsiness and fatigue while driving have been found to affect a driver's ability to safely maintain control of a vehicle due to performance decrements that become apparent as the driver's vigilance deteriorates.  With increased sleepiness, drivers show an increased likelihood of experiencing micro sleeps, periods of inattention, longer and more frequent eye closures and falling asleep at the wheel.
Suzanne Ftouni, who is undertaking research within the School of Psychology and Psychiatry at Monash University into the contribution of sleep loss and disruption to the incidence of motor vehicle collisions, plans to use her Fellowship to visit the Sleep Clinic of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) at the Université Bordeaux II.  This clinic is equipped with a state-of-the-art, real-time system for measuring driving performance in a natural setting.  Suzanne plans to use her visit for exploring alternative methods of assessment of driving performance.

Baohua Jia
Nanoplasmonic Solar Cells
Baohua Jia is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Micro-Photonics, Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences, at Swinburne University.  The focus of her research is on developing innovative nanostructures and nanomaterials through manipulating light for a wide range of applications, including all-optical communications and photovoltaic solar cells.  In particular, she has developed a novel solar technology called nanoplasmonic solar cells, which promises to yield dramatic improvements in the efficiency of solar cells and concurrently to lower their cost.  The new technology is regarded as underpinning the next generation of high-performance solar photovoltaic products.
Baohua Jia plans to use her Fellowship to present a paper at the SPIE (Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers) Eco-Photonics Conference in Strasbourg in March 2011, followed by visits to the Institut de Science et d'Ingénieurie Supramoléculaires (ISIS) in Strasbourg and the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Toulouse.

 2011 Fellows

The AFAS Victoria Fellows for 2011 are Jaclyn Pearson and Dr Jean-Pierre Veder.

Jaclyn Pearson Jaclyn Pearson
Type III effectors of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and Shigella
for her outstanding research and development contribution in Type III effectors of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and Shigella.
Jaclyn will be afforded the opportunity to explain what this all means when invited to address our AGM in April.

Dr Jean-Pierre Veder
Development of a rigorous nanocharacterization scheme for electrochemical systems.
for his outstanding research and development contribution in the development of a rigorous nanocharacterization scheme for electrochemical systems.
We will also afford him a similar opportunity over the coming year to better explain himself!.
Dr Jean-Pierre Veder

 2012 Fellows

The AFAS Victoria Fellows for 2012 are Assoc. Prof. Hai Vui and Sharath Sriram.

Assoc. Prof. Hai Vui Assoc. Prof. Hai Vui
Intelligent Transport Systems
Intelligent transport systems (ITS) rely on the smart use of available information to improve traffic flow (i.e. reduce congestion) and enhance travellers' experience. While the Victoria Fellowship enables Dr Hai Vu to obtain experience in applying ITS to traffic management in the Netherlands, this complementary AFAS VIC fellowship will allow him to conduct research relating to the road users. To this end, he will be visiting Laboratoire d'Architecture et d'Analyse des Systemes (LAAS) in Toulouse, France and, establishing research collaboration in modelling users' decision and behaviour in a ITS-enable network. LAAS is one of the world leaders in transportation research, and the visit will help establish and develop research links with Victoria. It also enables us to maximize the benefit of ITS to both the users and road authorities. Dr Vu is also a recipient of a prestigious Future Fellowship award from the Australian Research Council (ARC) conducting fundamental research on information dissemination in ITS network, and is a Head of the Intelligent Transport Systems Lab at Swinburne.
To view a copy of the presentation on his French Experience, please
click here  

Sharath Sriram
Transforming micro-nano-science into sensing technology
Terahertz technology is the use of a high frequency radiation for analysing and imaging materials. Unlike the widespread X-ray technology, terahertz is low energy and non-ionising, representing a safe technology with significant potential for security and healthcare imaging, such as airport screening, cancerous tissue imaging and biochemical sensing. His recent work has demonstrated advanced terahertz devices applied to terahertz metamaterials, thin film sensors, and mechanical strain sensors. The proposed research visits to two leading French research laboratories with advanced terahertz* detection and imaging equipment and facilities will enable collaborative projects for specialised characterisation of future devices for security and sensing.
Sharam Sriram

 2013 Fellows

The AFAS Victoria Fellows for 2013 are Dr Arthur Nasis and Dr Jennifer Pilgrim.

Dr Arthur Nasis Dr Arthur Nasis
Novel Imaging Techniques for Diagnosis of Coronary Disease & Myocardial Ischaemia
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Cardiomyopathy, one of the most common causes of heart disease, is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and eventually scarred by a process called fibrosis. This causes weakness of the heart muscle and often leads to heart failure. It is estimated that at least 300,000 Australians are living with heart failure and every year around 30,000 Australians are newly diagnosed with the condition. Detection of fibrosis (or scarring) is important, not only for diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, but also as a potential treatment target.
Arthur’s study mission is to conduct research into the role of the first clinically applicable, robust, noninvasive method to detect and quantify heart fibrosis using a cutting-edge cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique called equilibrium-contrast imaging. He plans to attend the “Cardiac MRI & CTClinical Update 2014”, to be held in Cannes, France in April 2014. The meeting is accredited by the European Board for Accreditation in Cardiology and will enable Dr Nasis to acquire the latest techniques in cardiac MRI image protocols and post processing as well as practical knowledge regarding clinical scan interpretation. Arthur also plans to visit Institut Coeur Paris Centre (Heart Centre), which is a cardiac centre of excellence in Paris that boasts a team of heart experts delivering the most advanced cardiac services available in France. The centre has a cardiac imaging department including cardiac MRI scanner. Arthur hopes to be able to develop collaborative links with the Centre for future collaboration in research and perhaps even overseas exchange of clinical fellows.

Dr Jennifer Pilgrim
Transforming micro-nano-science into sensing technology
The Toxicolist project will establish the first-ever international evidence-based resource for toxic concentrations of over 100 commonly used drugs in humans. This database will provide an invaluable resource to death investigators in the global investigation of drug-associated deaths, by improving the interpretation of drug analysis and the estimation of deaths attributed to drugs. Importantly, this data will help identify opportunities for death prevention and the safer use of prescription drugs; an imperative issue due to the growing number of deaths attributed to these agents worldwide. Although the international component of this project is in its early stages, there have been numerous groups around the world who are eager to contribute their mortality data, in order to increase the global accessibility and usability of the database, and to be involved in such cutting-edge research. Professor Henrik Druid, project leader in Sweden, has already engaged forensic toxicologists in Germany and the USA, as well as in France: Bruno Mégarbane and Frédéric Baudat at Hôpital Larboisière, Paris, with potential to also involve Associate Professor Pascal Kintz, from the Institute of Legal Medicine of Strasbourg, France. Mégarbane and Baudat have a particular interest in opioid toxicity and a wealth of human toxicology data from acute intoxications analysed on a daily basis in their laboratory. Kintz is widely known in the international forensic toxicology community, especially for his research in illicit drugs and experience in interpreting toxicology analysis of hair.
Associate Professor Pascal Kintz, from the Institute of Legal Medicine of Strasbourg, France has expertise and data which could be very useful to this project and accordingly, it is important that Dr Pilgrim visits his lab in France to discuss a potential ongoing collaboration.
Dr Jennifer Pilgrim

 2014 Fellows

The AFAS Victoria Fellows for 2014 are Dr Gregory Knowles and Dr Jacqueline Flynn.

Dr Gregory Knowles Dr Gregory Knowles
Technologies for carbon dioxide capture and sequestration (CCS)
Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the main drivers of global warming and climate change with the largest impact coming from fossil fuel power generators. Dr Gregory Knowles from Monash University is working on technologies for carbon dioxide capture and sequestration (CCS) as well as its utilisation. The application of CCS technologies in Victoria is a strategic interest as it would leverage the state's competitive advantage in energy while minimising the impact of emissions.
The study mission to laboratories and facilities in Scotland and France will assist the understanding and development of amines and the CCS technology.

Dr Jacqueline Flynn
Understanding how HIV spreads infection among immune cells
With more than 35 million people world-wide reported to have HIV and a further 700 new cases reported in children each day, there is a critical need to develop an effective vaccine and antivirals. A key to developing such preventative therapies is an understanding of how HIV spreads infection among immune cells.
This study mission to the UK and France will provide Dr Jacqueline Flynn with specialist training in performing cell to cell HIV infection assays between macrophages and T cells. It will be an invaluable skill that can be incorporated into Victoria's HIV research capabilities.
Dr Jacqueline Flynn

 2015 Fellow

The AFAS Victoria Fellow for 2015 is Danielle Ingle.

Danielle Ingle
Track outbreaks of infectious diseases
Danielle's PhD work has focussed on the application of state-ot-the art technology to thoroughly track outbreaks of infectious diseases, providing a ground-breaking approach to public health.
The 2015 AFAS Fellowship will support Danielle's upcoming visit to the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, allowing her to further train in the latest knowledge and technologies relevant to her research.

2015 Fellow

 2016 Fellow

The AFAS Victoria Fellow for 2016 is Dr Christian Gunawan.

Dr Christian Gunawan
Synthesize and purify diary lactone
The study mission will enable Dr Gunawan to synthesize and purify diary lactone in industrial quantities at a pilot scale plant at AgroParis Tech, in France, to assess the viability of this approach. If successful, diary lactone could be produced locally from a renewalable source for use by cheese and diary confection makers to enhance the flavour of food products.
Dr Gunawan received his Victoria Fellowship for Physical Sciences on 29th November, pictured here with the Minister for Small Business, Innovation & Trade, the Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP and Mr Pierre Tolé, President of AFAS-Vic.

Dr Christian Gunawan


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