Top PhD students recognised

31 March 2010

Dr Ratapol Chaiyarat

Dr Lisa Alexander

Dr Yao Da Dong

Dr David Nisbet

Dr Abdul Islam

Dr Denise Beale

Dr Rebecca Robinson

The most outstanding theses from last year's Monash PhD students have been recognised with the awarding of the annual Mollie Holman doctoral medals.

The Mollie Holman Medal for Excellence is awarded in each faculty to the PhD candidate judged to have presented the best thesis of the year.

The award is named after Emeritus Professor Mollie Holman in honour of her significant contribution to science and education.

This year's medal recipients were:

Faculty of Art and Design
Dr Ratapol Chaiyarat for his thesis "The odyssey of elephants: contemporary images and representation," which explores how we construct and respond to simulation in different forms and how we view animals symbolically.

Faculty of Arts
Dr Lisa Alexander for "Extreme measures: mechanisms driving changes in climate extremes in Australia," which investigated the natural and human factors influencing variations and trends in observed extremes of climate across Australia.

Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr Yao Da Dong for his thesis "Investigation of nanostructured liquid crystal particles as novel agrochemical delivery agents." The research investigated nanostructured particles made from naturally occurring materials as a new approach to improve the effectiveness of agricultural chemicals.

Faculty of Engineering
Dr David Nisbet for his thesis "Development of neural tissue engineering scaffolds for guided neurite extension within the central nervous system," which investigated the feasibility of using biodegradable electrospun nanofibres and injectable hydrogels (synthetic and natural) for the repair of damaged neural pathways within the brain and spinal cord.

Faculty of Business and Economics
Dr Abdul Islam for his thesis "Three essays on development and labour economics," a collection of essays exploring the impact of microfinance programs in Bangladesh, and skilled migration in Australia.

Faculty of Education
Dr Denise Beale for her thesis "The construction of educational computing: the computer in Australian government policy texts 1983 - 2000," which investigates the Australian Government's promotion of computers in school education through an examination of policy texts.

Faculty of Information Technology
Dr Rebecca Robinson for her thesis "Characterisations and algorithms for topological containment of wheel graphs," which accurately describes the structure of networks not containing certain types of smaller, wheel-shaped networks, and gives efficient methods of determining if these wheel-shapes exist in any given network.

Faculty of Law
Debra Wilson for her thesis "The legality of human cloning: an analysis of the legal arguments for and against a ban on reproductive cloning from a eugenics/human rights viewpoint." Debra's research examined the legality of human cloning, in particular whether human rights laws, often referred to as justifying a prohibition on cloning, actually support this position, or in fact support cloning.

Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Dr Elizabeth Barr for "The contribution of impaired glucose metabolism to cardiovascular disease and mortality in Australians." The research examined the extent to which high blood sugar increases the risk of heart disease and premature deaths in Australians.

Faculty of Science
Dr Diego Fernando Amorocho for his thesis "Foraging ecology and population structure of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) in the eastern pacific coast of Colombia."

Vice-Chancellor's commendations

The Vice-Chancellor's commendation for doctoral thesis excellence awards were presented to:

Dr Natalie Lee-San Pang - Faculty of Information Technology

The Vice-Chancellor's commendation for Masters thesis excellence awards were presented to:

Marcus Ari Fajl - Faculty of Art and Design

Genna Burrows - Faculty of Arts

Svetlana Litvinova - Faculty of Business and Economics

Ekaterina Tour - Faculty of Education

Shan Liu - Faculty of Engineering

For further information on the nomination process for next year's awards contact Arun Kumar at the Monash Research Graduate School on +613 9905 2070 or email