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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.

We recruit 10 new fellows every year who are selected internationally, on the basis of merit and potential.

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.

Fellows are affiliated with a faculty and a centre relevant to their expertise.

Applying for a fellowship

Applications are encouraged from any discipline, faculty or research area.

A particular objective of the 2017 round is to attract talented recent doctoral graduates who can contribute to our whole-of-University multidisciplinary initiatives. They include:

  • Charles Perkins Centre
  • Brain and Mind Centre
  • Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology
  • China Studies Centre
  • Sydney Southeast Asia Centre
  • Cancer Research Network
  • Sydney Environment Institute
  • Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosafety
  • Sydney Centre for Translational Data Science.

Society of Fellows events

Upcoming events

The Society will host Professor David Haig from Harvard University on Friday July 14 2017 at 3pm.

Past events

In April 2017, Professor Huw Price spoke about the dangers of articfical intelligence.

In March 2017, the Society hosted Professor Bernard Crespi with a talk titled 'Autism as a disorder of high intelligence'.

In August 2016, the Society had the pleasure of hosting Professor Eva Jablonka, who talked about her work on epigenetics, summarized in ‘Evolution in Four Dimensions’.

Sydney Society of Fellows

School of Aerospace, Mechatronic and Mechanical Engineering
Fellowship Year: 2014

+61 2 9351 8608
+61 2 9351 7060

Find out more about Dr Xianghai An

School of Life and Environmental Science
Fellowship Year: 2014
Research Interests: I study epigenetic regulation of gene expression– the interplay between the environment that an organism encounters during its lifetime, and the expression patterns of its genes. Importantly, these environmental signals can sometimes get passed between generations (Darwin was wrong!), and I am trying to understand how this occurs.
Biography/About Me: I completed my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Sydney, and my PhD at the University of Sydney and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research when the lab moved. After a couple of years in Brisbane I moved over to Cambridge, UK, where I spent four years as a postdoctoral research fellow.

During my PhD I developed my fascination with the area of epigenetics – I kept up this interest but broadened my horizons by learning all about a new model organism (the nematode worm C. elegans) and the world of RNA molecules during my postdoctoral work.

Find out more about Dr Alyson Ashe

Media and Communications
Fellowship Year: 2015
+61 2 9351 3284

Find out more about Dr Karina Aveyard.

School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Fellowship Year: 2015
Find out more about Dr Thomas Bourguignon.

Centre for Translational Data Science

Fellowship Year: 2017

Research Interests: My research interests are in methodologies and applications of deep learning, recurrent neural networks, learning algorithms, neuro-evolution, cognitive and developmental systems, and time series prediction. I have used some of these methods for climate modeling that mainly includes tropical cyclones. In the Sydney Fellowship, I will be developing novel deep learning architectures and learning algorithms with application to climate modeling, particularly in areas of earthquakes and cyclones. I will be developing methods that will provide a synergy of deep learning methods with Bayesian inference, multi-task and transfer learning. Moreover, I will be developing learning algorithms inspired from cognitive systems. I will also simulate the learning behavior of the human brain and other aspects of consciousness that include personality and attention.

Biography/About Me: I am originally from Nausori, Fiji. I hold a Ph.D. in Computer Science (2012) from the Victoria University of Wellington, M. Sc. in Computer Science (2008) from the University of Fiji and B. Computer Science and Engineering Technology (2006) from the University of the South Pacific. I was Lecturer in Computer Science from December 2012 – January 2016 at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. I took the role of Research Fellow in Machine Leaning in 2016 for a year at the Rolls Royce @ NTU Corporate Lab, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. There, I undertook a project in the use of Machine Learning methodologies for the efficient design of Jet Engines. I took the role of the University of Sydney Fellow from March 2017 at the Centre for Translational Data Science, University of Sydney.

Find out more about Dr Rohitash Chandra

Sydney Medical School, Northern Clinical School

Fellowship Year: 2017

Research Interests: My research aims to understand the regulation of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF), a transcription factor activated by hypoxia (low oxygen) and involved in cancer development and progression, and to develop anti-cancer drugs that inhibit HIF.

I have a particular interest in understanding the role of HIF and hypoxia in tumours linked to obstructive sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is increasingly prevalent in the adult population. It is characterised by episodic obstruction of the upper airway, resulting in intermittent hypoxia and cyclical decreases in blood oxygen.

OSA patients have higher rates of cancer and cancer mortality, yet the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. My work focuses on the molecular mechanisms underpinning this association and in particular the role of intermittent hypoxia.

While at Oxford and the NIH I studied the regulation of HIF in tumour hypoxia, and identified a new class of HIF-targeting drugs. These small molecules inhibit HIF activity and decrease tumour growth in mouse models. This work led to me to design a high-throughput drug screen to identify new HIF inhibitors at the NIH. The screen was highly successful and work is ongoing to move these drugs towards clinical application. 

Biography/About Me: I completed my D.Phil. in Chemical Biology at the University of Oxford (UK) in 2010 in a collaborative program with the NIH (Bethesda, Maryland, USA) as an OxCam Biomedical Research Scholar. Prior to this, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from San Diego State University in 2005, with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a minor in Chemistry (awarded a ‘distinction’ honour).

I have had post-doctoral positions at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre, University of New South Wales and the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney.

Find out more about Dr Kristina Cook.

Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Sydney Medical School 
Fellowship Year: 2015

Sydney Medical School, Parkinson’s Research Clinic, Brain and Mind Centre

Fellowship Year: 2017

Research Interests:

  • Pakinson’s Disease
  • REM sleep behaviour disorder
  • Functional neuroimaging
  • Gait impairments
  • Cognition
  • Affective disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Freezing of gait

Biography/About Me:

Kaylena is completing her postdoctoral fellowship at the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney. Her research continues to focus on both early gait deficits detectable in prodromal Parkinson’s disease (e.g. iRBD) as well as advanced symptoms such as freezing of gait using state-of-the-art techniques such as virtual reality paired with functional neuroimaging and neurophysiology. 

Kaylena obtained her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2015 from the University of Waterloo in Canada, which focused on understanding how anxiety influences movement in Parkinson’s disease. Her PhD work was fully funded by a Doctoral Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in partnership with the Parkinson Society Canada, and has also been selected as one of the Top 20 CIHR Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction Brain Star awardees in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

She completed her BSc in Kinesiology in 2010 at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she volunteered as an exercise coordinator for a Parkinson’s rehabilitation program offered at the Movement Disorders Research Center (MDRC). Kaylena was awarded a CIHR Master’s Award which fully funded her MA degree in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo in collaboration with the MDRC which focused on understanding how underlying sensory deficits might contribute to movement impairments in PD, with a specific interest in freezing of gait. Upon completing her Master’s degree, Kaylena was recognized with the Outstanding Achievements Master’s Award. 

Learn more about Dr Ehgoetz Martens

School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Fellowship Year: 2014
+61 2 9351 2267

Find out more about Dr Ros Gloag.

Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Fellowship Year: 2014 
+61 2 9351 1235 

Find out more about Dr Catherine Ingram.

Sydney Medical School/Pharmacology
Fellowship Year: 2013

+61 2 9351 4897

Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning
Fellowship Year: 2015
Find out more about Dr Jennifer Kent.

School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School
Fellowship Year: 2012
Find out more about Dr Julie Leask.

Faculty of Health Sciences

Fellowship Year: 2017

Research Interests: My research focuses on brain imaging and analysis of small animals moving freely (awake and responsive) in the fusion medical imaging system, PET-MRI. The development of awake animal imaging is a critical step in the further development of PET-MRI technology and its application to the understanding of normal and aberrant brain function.

Biography/About Me: I have achieved B.S. in Radiological Science at Yonsei University, Rep. of Korea in Aug. 2008, and Ph.D. in Radiological Science at Yonsei University, Rep. of Korea in Feb. 2014. I have had two postdoctoral research fellow positions at the Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA (Apr. 2014 – Jan. 2016) studying molecular MR neuroscience imaging using CEST-MRI technique, and at the Department of Radiological Science, Yonsei University, Rep. of Korea (Jun. 2016 – Feb. 2017) studying x-ray and nuclear medicine.

Find out more about Dr Dong-Hoon Lee 

Faculty of Engineering & Information Technologies, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Fellowship Year: 2014

Research Interests:

  • Structure and surface properties’ influences on photocatalytic performance of the materials.
  • The preparation of carbon- or silicon-based device and their applications.

Dr Haitao Li joined the Laboratory for Catalysis Engineering Lab in 2016 as a University of Sydney Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He is interested in the nanomaterial design and synthesis for sustainable energy applications. 

School of Literature, Arts and Media, Linguistics Department
Fellowship Year: 2016
Find out more about Dr Maïa Ponsonnet.

School of Physics/Sydney Institute for Astronomy
Fellowship Year: 2015
+61 2 9114 2158

Find out more about Dr Nic Scott.

Faculty of Science, School of Physics
Fellowship Year: 2014

Research Interests:
My research is in quantum information theory and cryptography, with a focus on theoretical questions that arise when the size of the available quantum devices is limited. 

Biography/About Me:
I received a Master of Science degree from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at ETH Zurich, and a doctorate in Theoretical Physics also from ETH Zurich. Since then I have worked as a research fellow at the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore.

In 2016 I received an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship to work on Information Processing with Small Quantum Computers. I remain in the School of Physics for the duration of my DECRA Fellowship.

Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies, University of Sydney Business School
Fellowship Year: 2014
Find out more about Dr Chris F Wright.

Faculty of Science, School of Mathematics and Statistics
Fellowship Year: 2015

Find out more about Dr Pengyi Yang.

Past Fellows

Faculty of Health Science
Fellowship Year: 2013

Find out more about Dr John Gillam.

Faculty of Medicine – Central Clinical School, Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine & Cell Biology
Fellowship Year: 2013
Current Position: Toxicologist, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Department of Health

I completed a Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) at the University of Sydney in 2002 and subsequently a PhD under the supervision of Dr Christopher Jolly at the Centenary Institute (Sydney) where I investigated the role of DNA repair proteins in antibody gene class switching and mutation in B lymphocytes. A recipient of La Ligue Contre le Cancer (French Cancer Council) and NHMRC CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellowships, I joined the lab of Dr Geneviève Almouzni at the Institut Curie in Paris in where I turned my attention to the regulation of chromatin dynamics in maintaining genome function and stability. I returned to Australia in 2011 and joined the lab of Prof. David Tremethick at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University (Canberra), to complete a second postdoc. In 2012 I was awarded a University of Sydney Postdoctoral Research Fellowship which allowed me to return to the University and Centenary Institute in 2013 to continue my research within the Immune Imaging Laboratory (lab of Prof. Wolfgang Weninger). In 2016 I chose to undertake a new career direction within the Australian Public Service to work in regulatory toxicology at the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

School of Chemistry
Fellowship Year: 2013
+61 2 9351 5843
+61 2 9351 3329