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Sydney Society of Fellows

The Sydney Society of Fellows was the first of its kind in Australia

The society epitomises our commitment to research and scholarship of the highest calibre.

University of Sydney Fellowships aim to attract outstanding early-career researchers who contribute to and enhance our research strengths and culture.

Recipients of University of Sydney fellowships receive a full salary and a significant research allowance for the first three years, and become lifetime members of the Sydney Society of Fellows. 

Note: The University of Sydney Fellowships scheme is currently under review.


Current Fellows

Hamid Arandiyan

Faculty of Science

Fellowship year: 2018

Research interests: My research interests are in synthesizing porous materials for environmental remediation and energy application.

Biography: I obtained my PhD under the supervision of Prof. Junhua Li at Tsinghua University in 2014. Afterwards I worked in the laboratory of Prof. Hongxing Dai at the Beijing University of Technology.

In 2015, I was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales under the supervision of Scientia Prof. Rose Amal.

In 2018, I was awarded a University of Sydney Research Fellow under the supervision of Prof Thomas Maschmeyer.

Find out more about Dr Hamid Arandiyan.

Ben Brown

Faculty of Science

Fellowship Year: 2017

Research interests: Quantum information and topological phases of matter

Biography: I completed my PhD at Imperial College London on defects in topologically ordered lattice models in 2013. I have since held postdoctoral positions at Imperial College and then the Niels Bohr International Academy in Copenhagen before moving to the University of Sydney to work on quantum error correction and fault-tolerant quantum computation.

Find out more about Dr Ben Brown.

Emma Calgaro

Fellowship year: 2017

Research interests:

  • Human dimensions of environmental change and risk responses
  • Theoretical approaches in vulnerability research and sustainability science with an emphasis on contextual influences on change and transformation in the coupled human-environment system
  • Disability, risk, equity, inclusion and resilience.  
  • Natural hazards and disaster risk reduction (DRR), with an emphasis on the coastal zone
  • Climate change adaptation, with a focus on coral reefs and climate change impacts on tourism livelihoods in Asia and the South Pacific
  • The politics of aid and change
  • Geographies of scale, place, and temporality and their application to sustainability science and transformative processes

Biography: I am a human geographer specialising in disaster risk reduction (DRR), vulnerability, and resilience. My research examines the complex set of contextual factors that impede and/or improve resilience and vulnerability levels to risk with a regional focus on South-East Asia and Australia and the South Pacific. My research career began looking at the vulnerability and resilience of tourism destinations to natural hazards. However, the last several years has seen my focus shift to disability and disasters.

Inclusion and Disability-inclusive DRR (DiDRR) is a human right. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 recognises this and mandates stronger inclusion of people with disabilities at all stages of DRR from inception to delivery. Yet pathways to achieving inclusion remain unclear. Taking a systems approach, my current work explores two fundamental questions designed to advance inclusion in the disaster space: 1) what does inclusion means in the context of DRR and 2) what steps - including knowledge generation and sharing, processes and practices - are needed to make DiDRR a lived reality.

This Sydney Fellowship expands and deepens the research component of the multi-partner Disability and Disasters project that I lead. Funded by the Global Resilience Partnership, this project aims to provide people with disabilities the institutional and social support need to respond effectively to hazards in Southeast Asia with a focus on Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines.

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Fellowship Year: 2019

I will work with the Conservatorium of Music and Sydney Environment Institute to explore the interconnection between Tiwi Island community song culture and death in the context of artistic creativity, cultural maintenance and community health.

Research Interests: Investigating ways of supporting and preserving Tiwi song skills and language, the collaborative musical discovery, ethics of repatriation of indigenous cultural material.

Biography: I’ve enjoyed a twenty-year half-life as a freelance horn player in the orchestras of professional musical theatre as well as everything from symphony to jazz, Opera Australia to Australian Idol and touring Australasia in the bands for Barbra Streisand, Michael Crawford and (my favourite!) Shirley Bassey.

In 2007 I met a group of Tiwi songwomen and together we created Ngarukuruwala – we sing – a collaboration of Tiwi and non-Tiwi musicians re-imagining old Tiwi songs into new music genres and spaces. Ngarukuruwala has performed around the country and has produced two recorded works as well as facilitating a number of projects in the Tiwi community aimed at engaging Tiwi children and young people with their cultural and linguistic identity through song.

My involvement in the discovery and repatriation to Traditional Owners of archived Tiwi song recordings led me to complete a PhD (2014), the first musicological documentation of Tiwi song. Since then I’ve published as an independent researcher working with elders to document and preserve traditional Tiwi song language while we continue to perform together. Our latest work Ngiya awungarra (I am here, now) centres around ethnographic recordings of deceased Tiwi songmen and songwomen taken over the last century and places them as co-performers in new musical treatments of their very old songs.

This Fellowship gives us the time to properly confront and discuss the very real impact of social imbalance and cultural loss on the spiritual, artistic and physical health of the Tiwi community and to support the continuation of its rich but highly endangered song traditions.

Find out more about Dr Genevieve Campbell

Eason (Yi-Sheng) Chen

Faculty of Engineering 

Fellowship Year: 2019

I will work the Faculty of Engineering to improve the hydrogen embrittlement resistance of ultra-high strength steels, increasing reliability and their potential use in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Research Interests: My specialty is in using atom probe tomography (APT) to observe hydrogen in materials, particularly steels which are suffered from the catastrophic consequence of hydrogen attack known as hydrogen embrittlement.

Through my PhD project, I (co-)developed the cryogenic APT sample transfer facilities that critically enable the hydrogen observation which used to be difficult due to the signal loss of the highly mobile hydrogen in room-temperature transfer process.

As an extension of PhD research, I am now applying this technique in industrial high-strength alloys for further understanding of the effect and mitigation strategy of hydrogen embrittlement in practical applications, whilst establishing a transferable protocol to combine this specialty with other material topics such as catalyst.

Biography: After finishing my master study in ceramic powder processing for electronic capacitor application with Prof. Jau-Ho Jean, I worked in consulting business for many years before going back to pursue a research career in Academia Sinica Taiwan with Prof. Ing-Shouh Hwang in 2013. I learned the fundamental of field emission science there and then moved on to doctoral research at University of Oxford with Prof. Michael Moody in 2014. I am  now a postdoctoral research associate in both Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis (ACMM) and School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering (AMME) at the University of Sydney.

Find out more about Dr Eason (Yi-Sheng) Chen.

Rachael Dodd

Faculty/Department: School of Public Health

Fellowship Year: 2018

Research Interests: I am interested in communication around HPV and cancer, cancer screening, overdiagnosis and overtreatment and the psychological impact of cancer. My current research focuses on public communication of reductions to cancer screening programs, specifically in the case of cervical screening, and the experiences and implications of this for both women and health professionals.

Biography: I completed an undergraduate in Psychology at the University of Leeds (UK) in 2007, a Masters in Health Psychology at King’s College London (UK) in 2009 and a PhD in Psychology at University College London (UK) in 2016. I now work in the Wiser Healthcare team at the School of Public Health. 

Find out more about Dr Rachel Dodd.

Frances Flanagan

The University of Sydney Business School

Fellowship Year: 2019

My work with the University of Sydney Business School and Sydney Policy Lab will explore the crucial and changing role that work, as a source of ‘social citizenship’, has played in rising levels of inequality, alienation and mistrust, and how it might be reconfigured to address these problems.

Biography: I am an early career researcher with an interdisciplinary background in work studies and history. I hold a University of Sydney Fellowship based in WOS and am affiliated with two of the University’s interdisciplinary research hubs, the Sydney Policy Lab and the Sydney Environment Institute.

My research concerns the crucial and changing role that work has played as a source of social cohesion, identity and belonging in the context of ongoing changes to employment relationships, technology and the environment.

I have co-convened a number of Sydney-based public seminars that seek to link academic research with the public and communities of practice in civil society.  I am also the author of a number of long-form essays that have been published in the Griffith Review, Arena and Inside Story.  

In February 2019, I was invited to deliver the inaugural Iain McCalman lecture on the environment and culture, on the subject ‘Climate Change and the New Work Order’

I am a research associate of the Centre for Future Work (Australia Institute), as well as a member of the Australian Historical Society and the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand.

Find out more about Dr Frances Flanagan

Bradley Garrett

Faculty/Department: Faculty of Science / School of Geosciences

Fellowship Year: 2017

Research interests: Transgression, Cities, Ethnography, Audio/Visual Methods

Biography: I am a cultural geographer based in the School of Geosciences. After a brief career as an archaeologist working for the United States Bureau of Land Management, I moved to London in 2008 to undertake ethnographic work with urban explorers. My first book, Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City (Verso Books 2013), is an account of my adventures trespassing into ruins, tunnels and skyscrapers with urban explorers over many years. Explore Everything has been translated into Korean and Japanese and is currently being scripted into a feature-length film in Los Angeles.

In 2014, I published Subterranean London: Cracking the Capital (Prestel Publishing), a photographic dissection of what lies underneath the streets of London, layer by layer and 2016 marked the release of the final book in my urban exploration triptych; London Rising: Illicit Photos from the City’s Heights (Prestel Publishing), which documents the social, infrastructural and corporate verticalities of the city.

As a University of Sydney Research Fellow, I am currently at work on a new book entitled Bunker, an ethnography of apocalyptic imaginations.

Find out more about Dr Bradley Garrett.

Faculty of Medicine and Health

Fellowship Year: 2018

I will work with the Sydney Medical School and the Brain and Mind Centre to develop better therapies for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.


Faculty of Science, School of Physics and Sydney Nano

Fellowship Year: 2018

Research Interests: Optical fibers, fiber lasers and amplifiers, supercontinuum sources and meta-materials.

Biography: I received an honours degree in Electronics and Communication engineering from the Deenbandhu Chhotu Ram University of Science and Technology in Murhal, India in 2009. I went on to complete my masters degree in laser technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. I then moved to the UK to complete my doctoral studies in optical fibers at the University of Southampton. After completing PhD in 2015, I moved to Technical University of Denmark as a Hans Christian confounded Marie-Curie postdoc fellow. In 2018, I joined the Sydney Nano Institute under the University of Sydney Fellowship scheme. My research interest lies in understanding of light and its generation. I am currently working on hollow core fibers with meta-material cladding.

Find out more about Dr Deepak Jain.

Faculty of Medicine and Health

Fellowship Year: 2019

I will work with the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Charles Perkins Centre, Brain and Mind Centre and Sydney Nano on the development of fluorescent probes for super-resolution imaging of pathological protein aggregates in neurodegeneration.


Faculty of Medicine and Health

Fellowship Year: 2019

I will work with the Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Brain and Mind Centre to investigate biomarkers of neurodegeneration which will be used to monitor the effectiveness of drug therapies for motor neurone disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration.


Stefan Oehlers

Central Clinical School and Marie Bashir Institute

Fellowship year: 2018

Research interests:

  • Zebrafish models of infection
  • immunity and vasuclar pathology

Biography: I completed graduate education at the University of Auckland in 2012. There I established zebrafish models of intestinal inflammation to understand the aetiology of inflammatory bowel disease and discover new anti-inflammatory drugs. I moved to Duke University School of Medicine as a postdoc from 2012-2016 where I was supported by a CJ Martin Early Career Fellowship to train in using the zebrafish as a model for tuberculosis and cryptococcal meningitis. In 2016 I set up my own independent laboratory at the Centenary Institute.

Contact details:
+61 2 9565 6192

Find out more about Dr Stefan Oehlers

Faculty of Engineering 

Fellowship Year: 2019

I will work with the Faculty of Engineering and Sydney Nano to develop high-performance electrically rechargeable zinc-air batteries to enable more efficient and substantial energy storage.


Brigitte Sommer

Fellowship year: 2018

Research interests:

  • community ecology
  • macroecology and biogeography
  • field ecology
  • statistical modelling
  • climate change
  • ecosystems at the transition of biogeographical zones

Biography: I completed my PhD in marine ecology in Prof. John Pandolfi’s Lab at the University of Queensland and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in December 2015. My PhD investigated the ecology of corals at their high-latitude range limits, in the subtropical-to-temperate transition zone south of the Great Barrier Reef.

In 2016, during my Postdoc at the University of Queensland, I studied the effects of elevated temperatures on high-latitude corals and the extent to which they were affected by coral bleaching.

In 2017 and early 2018, I held post-doctoral positions at the University of Leeds (UK) and the University of Technology Sydney.

In 2018, I was awarded a University of Sydney Research Fellowship under the supervision of A/Prof William Figueira to investigate ecological dynamics of marine organisms in tropical-to-temperate transition zones under climate change.

Find out more about Dr Brigitte Sommer.

The University of Sydney Nano Institute, School of Physics, Faculty of Science

Fellowship year: 2017

Research interests: Plasmonics, nonlinear nanophotonics, terahertz optics, metamaterials, sub-wavelength imaging, hybrid (multi-material) photonic devices.

Biography: I received a B.Sc. Degree in Physics from The University of Trieste in 2007, and B.Sc. (Honours) from the University of Sydney in 2008.

At Sydney, I continued my PhD in 2009, being the first student in the metamaterial fibers group, and completed my Ph.D in 2013.

In 2014, I received a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology in Jena, researching fiber plasmonics.

In 2017, I joined the Sydney Nano Institute under the University of Sydney Fellowship scheme on the topic on nonlinear nanophotonics.

Find out more about Dr Alessandro Tuniz

Tess Reynolds

Faculty of Medicine and Health

Fellowship Year: 2019

I will work with the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Cancer Research Network and Charles Perkins Centre to develop a technique to deliver clearer, faster and safer imaging for high precision guidance during interventional cardiac procedures and cancer radiotherapy treatments.

Research Interests: My research interests are developing Patient Connected Imaging protocols, where the imaging hardware is adapted to physiological changes in a patient’s cardiac and breathing rates. Patient Connected Imaging has the potential to deliver clearer, faster and safer medical imaging for high precision guidance during interventional cardiac procedures and to improve cancer radiotherapy treatments.

Biography: I completed my PhD in Physics under the supervision of Prof. Tanya Monro, Prof. Stephen Nicholls and Dr. Alexandre Francois at the University of Adelaide in 2017. My research focused on the development of a Whispering Gallery Mode Microlaser Biosensor as a way to facilitate real-time label-free in-vivo sensing. I received a Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.

In 2017, I joined the ACRF Image X Institute at the University of Sydney as a Postdoctoral Research Associate.

In 2019, I was awarded a University of Sydney Fellowship under the supervision of Associate Professor Ricky O’Brien.

Find out more about Dr Tess Reynolds

Faculty of Science

Fellowship Year: 2019

I will work with the School of Physics within the Faculty of Science to further our understanding of the formation and evolution of our galaxy and its stars and planets.


Past Fellows

Fellows in the news