Speakers

 

Professor Ernst Wolvetang
Leading a laboratory at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland, Wolvetang has pioneered human embryonic stem cell research in Australia. Using artificial human mini-brains grown from skin cells in search for cures to common and rare brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and childhood leukoencephalopathies.

 

 

Doctor Renae Beaumont
Doctor Renae Beaumont completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at UQ in 2006. For her PhD, she developed a computer game – Secret Agent Society (SAS) - that trains social and emotional skills for children with Autism Spectrum Conditions; helping them learn how to feel happier, calmer and braver and to make friends and keep them. To date, the program has been delivered to over 10,000 children with optimistic results - a testament that gaming can be used as a force of good instead of evil to transform children’s lives for the better.

 

Claire Ashman
Claire Ashman was born, raised, and birthed 9 children in a cult. She shares how the prevalence of cults and cult-like thinking affects everyday people. In Australia there are over 3000 cults, with some 600,000 members, meaning we all know, or have had contact with at least one person who is a member of a cult. Ashman shares awakening for cult-member’s friends, colleagues and family members to recognize the signs and be present to support upon exiting.

 

John Ahern
Internationally published, John Ahern is a writer, business advisor, and an advocate for ‘the rejuvenating power of time out'. Author of the award-winning travel memoir “On The Road With Kids”, John Ahern is a self-professed serial ‘escapist,’ having taken multiple career sabbaticals to independently travel through over 85 countries.

 

Professor Winnifred Louis
Winnifred Louis is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland. Her research interests focus on the influence of identity and norms on social decision-making. She has studied this broad topic in contexts from violence and hate crimes to politics and community activism to health and environmental choices.

 

Alexander Braczkowski
Originally from Durban, South Africa, big cat biologist Alexander Braczkowski has handled lions, leopards and caracal for the past eight years. After completing a masters in science at the University of Oxford examining issues surrounding the trophy hunting of leopards in Africa, Alexander joined renowned photographer Steve Winter, serving as a photographic assistant and second cameraman on the biggest story on leopards ever covered by National Geographic Magazine and Television. 

 

Shannon Zimmerman
Shannon Zimmerman is a peacemaker specializing in understanding how ideas of peace and security interact. She is currently a PhD researcher at the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect based at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Her research focuses on the intersections of the Protection of Civilians (PoC) and counter-terrorism norms within United Nations peacekeeping missions.

 

Nkosana Mafico
When you switch on your television and there is a segment on Africa, the images that you typically see are that of death, disease, poverty and famine. There is undoubtedly some truth to this, however, this isn’t the whole story. With approximately 74 percent of it’s 1 billion population aged between 1 and 29, Africa is fast becoming the future frontier for global growth in the 21st century. Nkosana is a 21-year-old African Australian entrepreneur, writer and speaker passionate about social and economic development. Between the ages of 18 and 19 Nkosana co-founded two technology ventures, one of which became backed by Telstra.

 

Doctor Wendell Rosevear O.A.M
Doctor Wendell Rosevear O.A.M, is a General Practitioner and founder of MARS (Men Affected by Rape and Sexual-abuse) and GLADS (Gay & Lesbian Alcohol & Drug Support Group), and co-founded the Gay & Lesbian Health Service.

He has many national awards but his greatest honour is to be trusted by individuals who find it hard to trust anyone. Living life by his motto ….”to make Love Infectious”.

 

Professor Mandyam Srinivasan
Srinivasan's research focuses on the principles of visual processing, perception and cognition in simple natural systems, and on the application of these principles to machine vision and robotics.
He holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University, a Master's degree in Electronics from the Indian Institute of Science, a Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University, a D.Sc. in Neuroethology from the Australian National University, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Zurich.

 

Nicki Cassimatis
Ms Cassimatis completed her Bachelor of Arts at UQ, in 1991, majoring in languages and linguistics. Over two decades, she has taught in primary and high schools as language specialist and pastoral care teacher. She has four children of her own. Over her working life, the juggle of professional responsibilities, family life and community service led to recurring bouts of depression and anxiety. Desperate to find balance, healing and meaning in this suffering, she instinctively turned to poetry to find her ‘inner voice’, process her pain, and reclaim her joy, hope and peace. Accidental poet, post-graduate student of mental health practice, workshop facilitator, teacher and activist for personal empowerment and integral living through poetry and creativity – this is her new path…

 

Natalie McKirdy
Natalie is a final year PhD student who understands the importance of not only conducting and publishing research with clinical relevance, but communicating those findings to the wider community to generate support for, and an appreciation of, rigorous scientific research. After an undergraduate degree in Medical Science at Queensland University of Technology, Natalie pursued an Honours research project at the Queensland Eye Institute (QEI) to develop a transplantable layer of cells grown upon a silk membrane with the aim of restoring sight to patients with Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy. After two years working in clinical trials and feto-maternal research, she returned to her first love – ophthalmic research – to earn her PhD enrolled through the University of Queensland School of Medicine and located at the QEI. Her PhD project investigates compounds from raw silk for their potential application as a cell transplant scaffold to treat blindness caused by retinal degeneration.

 

Hosam Zowawi
Hosam Zowawi, PhD is a clinical microbiologist interested in hospital-acquired infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria (aka, superbugs). Hosam and his team at The University of Queensland, Centre for Clinical Research have initiated the first region-wide surveillance program to monitor the spread and emergence of superbugs in the Gulf States. Their work is acting as an important piece of the puzzle to complete the global picture of antimicrobial resistance and be the foundation for an active ongoing surveillance in the GCC states and beyond.

 

Professor Matt Trau
Matt is currently a Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Centre for Personalised Nanomedicine at the University of Queensland. His research is dedicated towards developing innovative nano-diagnostics to help transform the healthcare system towards early detection of disease, and dramatically extending high quality human life through a combination of innovative diagnostic technology and preventative measures. Among Matt’s other roles, he is also deputy director and co-founder of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN). Since graduating from the University of Sydney (BSc Hons I, University Medal) and the University of Melbourne (PhD in Physical Chemistry, 1993), he has held positions within industry and academia across the globe. These include a Fulbright Research Fellowship at Princeton University, USA, a research scientist at Dow Chemical and ICI Pty Ltd.

 

Professor Geoffrey Goodhill
Prof Goodhill's research aims to discover the computational rules underlying brain development and function. He originally trained in the UK in maths, physics and artificial intelligence, and then spent 10 years researching in the USA, including 8 as a professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University. He moved to the University of Queensland in 2005, where he holds a joint appointment between the Queensland Brain Institute and School of Mathematics and Physics. His lab uses experimental, mathematical and computational techniques to understand the brain as a computational device.

 

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