Third cohort of Robinson Fellows announced

18 May 2023
Early-career researchers recognised with prestigious Fellowship
The latest cohort of researchers to receive a multi-year fellowship named after the University of Sydney's first Nobel Prize winner has been announced.

Established as an initiative of the University’s previous strategic plan, the Robinson Fellowships work to support and retain our best early-career academics by creating a pathway towards continuing teaching and research positions.

"Our Robinson Fellowships scheme is now in its third round of supporting emerging leaders who are at critical points in their careers,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Emma Johnston AO.

“This cohort of Fellows again demonstrates the commitment to excellent and innovative research focused on the common good that unites our academic community across disciplines. Their work addresses a truly impressive range of challenges in health, medicine, community wellbeing and our environment. I congratulate our new Robinson Fellows on their success."

Robinson Fellows are awarded on the basis of track record and potential, as well as their ability to help the University sustain a research community driven by a culture of excellence.

Highlighting the diverse research interests of the 2023 cohort, the recipients are spread across five faculties and schools.

The Fellows will have access to a structured mentoring and development program that will help prepare them to transfer into a continuing academic position, in addition to salary support.

The fellowships are named after Sir Robert Robinson, who was awarded the 1947 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Sir Robert joined the University in 1912 as a 26-year-old organic chemistry academic before returning home to England in 1915.

He made significant contributions to the field of chemistry that led to the successful production of antimalarial drugs.

Funding for the 2023 Robinson Fellowships comes through the Holt Bequest. Eric TW Holt was a World War II veteran and successful grazier who died in 1971, leaving his Marulan property, Arthursleigh, to the University along with a financial bequest.

2023 Robinson Fellows

Associate Professor Katy Bell is a clinical epidemiologist and health services researcher with expertise in the evaluation of the clinical effectiveness of healthcare. Her research aims to identify sustainable models of healthcare that benefit health and do not cause harm. A National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leadership Fellow (EL2), she is currently focusing on ways to decarbonise healthcare to decrease the substantial carbon emissions currently associated with the health sector.

Dr Rosalyn Gloag undertook her PhD in Zoology at the University of Oxford. She then held a University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellowship, followed by four years as Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. In 2022 she received an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) to investigate molecular drivers of biodiversity.  Her expertise is in bees and her research informs global challenges associated with climate change, food security, invasive species and pollinator conservation. 

Dr Tess Reynolds is the Deputy Director and Thoracic Theme Lead of the Image X Institute. She also is a Cancer Institute of NSW Early Career Fellow and a 2022 Outstanding Early Career Researcher Eureka Prize Winner. Since receiving her PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2017, she has become one of the leading young biomedical imaging physicists in the world, with a globally unique industry partnership with Siemens Healthcare and an international collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania (USA). Her current research focuses on delivering the future of interventional imaging in challenging surgical scenarios.

Dr Claire O’Callaghan is an NHMRC EL2 Research Fellow, working across cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Her work explores the mechanisms of cognition and behaviour in the healthy brain, and how they are affected in neuropsychiatric conditions. A focus of her current program is to combine neuroimaging and pharmacological manipulations. The goal is to better understand how the brain’s neurochemistry shapes adaptive behaviour – and in doing so, inform potential new avenues for drug treatments of neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Dr Michelle Peterie is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences, where she co-leads the Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies' research theme on Work, Education and Welfare. Michelle’s research investigates the impacts of social policies and practices on individual and collective wellbeing. Taking a person-centred approach – and in close collaboration with research participants and third-sector stakeholders – her work seeks to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children, families and communities.

Dr Georgia Curran is an Australian Research Council DECRA fellow who has worked in collaboration with Warlpiri people from communities across the Central Australian Tanami desert since 2005. Georgia's research interests include Indigenous languages and music, endangered languages, musical and linguistic change, performance studies and the revitalisation of performance arts. She is interested in assisting with community-developed documentation and audio/visual materials, not only to pass down the cultural knowledge embedded in them but also as a way to sustain these traditions into the future.

Dr Gustavo Machado is an academic and physiotherapist who has published extensively on topics related to musculoskeletal pain, physiotherapy, and public health. He is currently affiliated with the Sydney Local Health District and works as a Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Gustavo's research focuses on the effectiveness of various interventions for musculoskeletal pain, including medicines and physiotherapy, and on the implementation and evaluation of new models of care in routine clinical practice. He has published over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals (including in BMJ, Cochrane, Ann Rheum Dis, BJSM) and is ranked 17th for back pain globally by Expertscape. Additionally, he has received several awards, including the 2022 ANZMUSC Trial of the Year Award for his SHaPED trial in emergency departments, and over $10 million in competitive funding from the NHMRC and MRFF.

Dr Mark White completed his doctoral training at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology in collaboration with petrochemical company Royal Dutch Shell before accepting postdoctoral positions at the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk. He relocated to Australia in 2019 to start an independent ARC DECRA Fellowship in the School of Chemistry, University of Sydney, characterising a new oxygen sensing system recently identified in human cells. He received an NHMRC Investigator Grant in 2022 to continue and extend this work on novel oxygen sensing pathways, specifically in the context of hypoxic diseases such as glioblastoma. Mark has repeatedly published in high impact journals, making important discoveries in the areas of molecular enzymology and biological chemistry. 

Dr Joshua Zadro is a physiotherapist and NHMRC-funded research fellow within the Sydney Musculoskeletal Health Flagship and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health. His research interests include evaluating innovative eHealth models of care to improve access to effective, affordable care for musculoskeletal conditions, developing and testing strategies to reduce low-value surgical and non-surgical care, and evaluating new interventions to improve outcomes for people with low back pain and shoulder pain.

Dr Adrian Traeger is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health. He is an experienced physiotherapist and clinical researcher. Adrian works with the Wiser Healthcare Research Collaboration which aims to reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment globally. He is currently Principal Investigator on an NHMRC-funded clinical trial to reduce unnecessary diagnostic imaging and opioids for low back pain in Australian Emergency Departments. His other research interests include communicating research evidence to the public and evidence-based healthcare for musculoskeletal conditions.

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