September 1, 2023
Seven researchers recognised with Early Career Awards
Emerging researchers awarded ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards
Seven up-and-coming University of Wollongong (UOW) based researchers have picked up more than $3 million to fund innovative research in the Australian Research Centre’s (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA).
DECRA funding invests in the growth of Australian research and innovation capacity. The projects funded through UOW will investigate many challenges the world faces – from improving the understanding of cancer, clean energy transitions and quantum computing to unlocking the human genome, investigating infrastructure resilience and natural disasters.
UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Sustainable Futures) Professor David Currow congratulated the DECRA recipients.
“UOW applicants were well above the national and state success rates in this round of DECRA funding. UOW continues to be the place where impactful research happens that will drive positive changes for the communities in which we live and the world.”
The Chief Investigators who have received a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA):
Dr Haidee Cadd
Dr Cadd’s research will provide a greater understanding of Australia’s bushfire risk in the face of climate change by comparing fire occurrence in three Australian bioclimates across two millennial-scale time periods – prior to human settlement and during active Indigenous management – to unravel the benefits of cultural burning practices.
Dr Cao Wang
The financial burden of natural disasters is set to rise to $33 billion per year by 2050. Dr Wang’s research will develop a novel, resilience-orientated method to guide the design of future infrastructure and design standards for the Australian construction industry.
Dr Pabasara Wanniarachchige
As a country with a strong mining legacy, Australia has the potential to convert underground mines to geothermal resources to provide heating, cooling and heat storage for homes and businesses. Dr Wanniarachchige’s project aims to develop a new method for harnessing heat from elevated rock temperatures of underground mines, with no drilling or excavation, promoting the effective transition of post-mining landscapes to support the communities.
Dr Dezerae Cox
Dr Cox’s project will bring together powerful biochemical, biophysical and molecular biology techniques to provide insights into how viral sequences embedded in the human genome affect molecular processes in human cells. Her work has the potential to super-charge diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and motor neuron diseases.
Dr Xiaotian Wang
Dr Wang’s project will develop a comprehensive library of topological phonons – a new physical phenomenon observed in quantum matter that is expected to assist the discovery of new quantum materials. Phonon materials are aligned with quantum computing, opening new opportunities and possibilities in the areas of artificial intelligence and information technology.
Dr Zuoxia Yu
Dr Yu will explore new concepts and tools in the field of anonymous authentication, which will allow users to authenticate themselves to a service provider in anonymously which may assist in the prevention of cyber-attacks and ID theft.
Dr Jacob Lewis
Using cutting-edge electron and light microscopes, Dr Lewis’ project will help to better understand the molecular processes where DNA is replicated and split in cell divisions, by determining the individual shapes and visualise the dynamic behaviours of these protein complexes. This will generate new techniques and information to support the biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries in developing new therapeutic strategies to treat cancer and other diseases.