Aberdeen Curtin Alliance 2018 PhD Student Profiles

Ahlima Roumane

My PhD research project focuses on Pancreatic Islet Adaptation in Health and Disease. The cross-talk between adipose tissue and pancreas is critically involved in a healthy metabolic control. It’s typically observed in disruption in diabetes and other metabolic disorders is a good example of it. My project aims at unveiling novel factors and pathways relevant to this cross-talk. This will be tested by studying how adipocytes dysfunction may drive metabolic changes in the pancreatic beta cells.

My research is under the supervision of Professor Philip Newsholme, School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences at Curtin University, Dr. Justin Rochford, The Rowett Institute and Professor Kevin Docherty, Institute of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, University of Aberdeen.  Professor Newsholme’s skill in metabolic reprogramming combined with Dr Rochford’s expertise in adipose tissue development and Professor Docherty’s knowledge of pancreatic beta cell development and function will provide me with sufficient resources to successfully conduct my project.

I graduated with a Master of Science from the University of Lyon 1 in France. The several internships I had the chance to do in the United States, along with my previous work experiences, have helped me to strengthen my skills in cellular and molecular biology.

Jianwei Li

My topic of research is developing hybrid reaction system for NADH/NAD+ regeneration. Biocatalysis can empower chemical, pharmaceutical, and energy industries, where the use of enzymes facilitates low-energy, sustainable methods of producing high-value chemicals and pharmaceuticals that are otherwise impossibly troublesome or costly to obtain. However, most of the enzymatic reduction depends on a coenzyme or cofactor as a hydride source or acceptor, namely nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) or its ionic form (NAH+) respectively. Given the high cost, stoichiometric usage, and physical instability of NADH/NAD+, a suitable method for regeneration is essential for practical application. Here we employ a heterogeneous way using supported transition metal catalysts which is moderate, eco-friendly and lower-cost to make it applicable for industrial use.

I have a bachelor’s degree from China University of Petroleum- Beijing (CUPB) in Chemical Engineering and Processing and Master’s degree as a joint postgraduate of CUPB and Chinese Academy of Sciences. I started my Aberdeen Curtin Alliance PhD on 1st May in University of Aberdeen under the supervision of Dr. Xiaodong Wang, School of Engineering and will travel to Curtin University to work under Professor Damien Arrigan, School of Molecular and Life Sciences (MLS) in 2019.

Maeve Coyle

The ultimate goal of healthcare research and education is to improve health outcomes for patients and the wider public. Medical education is concerned with developing and supporting best medical practice, producing high calibre doctors with the appropriate skills and attributes who can contribute to achieving this outcome. With such demanding entry criteria for medical school, it is important that candidates are selected in the fairest way possible. Concerns have been raised that some students, despite having the necessary aptitude to study medicine, are being excluded from this career pathway to the detriment of the profession. Having a diverse, culturally competent healthcare workforce is crucial for improving healthcare quality, and more recent policy and practice within medical education is aimed at encouraging potential students from non-traditional backgrounds into the profession via widening access (WA) initiatives. However, attempts to address the issue of WA to medicine have often been relatively simplistic and ineffective, and certain groups of people remain under-represented in medicine worldwide. For those applicants from WA backgrounds who do successfully navigate their way through the selection process, little is known about whether they struggle once in medical school.

My PhD research project is a qualitative, comparative exploration into the experiences of medical students from widening access backgrounds at both the University of Aberdeen and Curtin University, with a view to encouraging and supporting meaningful changes in the philosophies, policies and practices of WA. I’m working under the supervision of Professor Jennifer Cleland, Director of Centre for Healthcare Education Research and Innovation (CHERI) at Aberdeen and Associate Professor Sally Sandover Associate Dean of Medical Education at Curtin Medical School at Perth.

I completed my BSc Hons in Forensic Psychobiology in Dundee in 2006, and subsequently spent several years working in the third sector, particularly in mental health community organisations. I managed a variety of collective advocacy projects, where I developed a passion for social justice and a desire to further my understanding of health inequalities in a broader context. I returned to higher education in 2016, gaining a Master of Public Health from the University of Aberdeen in 2017, and was then employed as a research assistant in both HERU and HSRU at Aberdeen before I began this PhD project. I thoroughly enjoy designing and implementing qualitative research methodologies, and am delighted to be able to explore and develop these techniques in tackling pertinent issues within public health, education and inequality.

Maria Del Pilar Di Martino Perez

My PhD title is “Unconventional reservoir imaging and geological interpretation in porous, heterogeneous environment via integrated seismic, petrophysical and mineralogical techniques”. This project will address the challenge of linking coda attenuation and scattering with petrophysical/mineralogical parameters of industrial interest from lab-to-field multi-scaling of quantities measured via novel imaging techniques.

My supervisors are Dr Luca de Siena (Lecturer at the Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology) and Dr David Healy (Rock Physics & Geomechanics laboratory manager) for School of Geosciences of the University of Aberdeen and Professor Andrew Putnis (John Curtin Distinguished Professor), School of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Dr Stephanie Vialle (Senior Research Fellow), WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering from Faculty of Science and Engineering at the Curtin University.

I have graduated as Geophysical Engineer (BSc) at one of the most prestigious universities in Venezuela, Universidad Simón Bolívar, and recently I completed a Geophysics Master’s degree at the University of Aberdeen. My academic path has given me strong skills in geophysical interpretation with a solid geology background. The MSc programme has enhanced and specialised the skills learnt during my undergraduate degree with further academic and professional training in processing, inversion and quantitative interpretation of high-resolution seismic data, as well as fieldwork experience and strengthening of my computer programming.

The PhD programme offered by the Aberdeen-Curtin alliance gives me the opportunity to study in two university institutions at the forefront of the Oil & Gas research sector. Its successful outcomes will lead to the development of techniques for improving the imagining of heterogeneous unconventional Oil & Gas environments, an obvious focus for the sector. I believe there is a strong potential for the translation of the research results into commercial projects and I am happy to be part of this innovative research.

Melissa Fagan

For my research project, I will be writing a book-length work of creative nonfiction comprised of a series of personal essays that draw on my own experiences to explore the ways in which people and places are connected, and disconnected, by our shared use of the world’s oceans and seas. The working title for this is Intertidal. Employing a practice-led methodology, I will also produce an accompanying exegesis that explores how narrative and associative ways of experiencing travel, and writing about travel, can work together in the one text to create a multitudinous, yet coherent, form.

Since being accepted into the Aberdeen Curtin Alliance program, I’ve given a lot of thought as to how to make best use of the opportunity to live in both Aberdeen and Perth during my candidature. I’ll be taking an autoethnographic approach to my creative work; my aim is to create new understanding not only through travel and observation, but also by swimming and surfing in the intertidal zones of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and The Black and North Seas. I’m keen to investigate the cultural, sociological, geographic and ecological histories of these places, with a focus on literal and metaphoric intertidal zones, in order to make an original contribution to the field of travel writing.

For my exegesis, I plan to embrace Judith Halberstam’s concepts of ‘low theory’ and ‘undisciplined knowledge’ with a view to positioning travel writing as a form of knowledge. I will also work towards making an original practice-led contribution to the broader field of life writing through an analysis of voice in my own creative work, and comparable works, proposing that it is the wayfaring ‘I’ of the text who facilitates this process. I want to explore the ways in which the wayfaring ‘I’ can move around and through the text to inhabit a variety of subject positions, narrating and associating as the text itself demands to find a way towards a form.

In reviewing comparable works, my focus will be on contemporary travel texts that tend away from the traditional sense of a travel narrative as a journey undertaken, and towards a more contemplative consideration of the ways in which we interact with people and places. I am keen to show that travel, and writing about travel, is not only a journey from one place to another, but also an iterative process that can be circuitous, fragmented, transgressive, or otherwise non-linear. In doing I will argue for a new literacy in the field of travel writing that more broadly reflects the nature of the contemporary travel experience.

Miftah Hidayat

My PhD research project is Electrokinetic measurements in intact core samples at reservoir conditions with the application to enhanced oil recovery via miscible CO2 injection. The focus of my research is to improve the understanding of the physics behind the interaction between rock-brine,-CO2-oil systems for the application of miscible CO2 injection to improve oil recovery and CO2 geological storage by using electrokinetic measurements. This project will significantly reduce the risk for oil recovery project using miscible CO2 injection and prevent an increasing world carbon emission by CO2 sequestration. Before continuing my PhD, I completed my master’s degree at University of Aberdeen in Petroleum Engineering in 2018.

For this research project, I will be supervised by Dr Jan Vinogradov, Lecturer (Engineering) and Dr David Vega-Maza, Senior Lecturer and Carbon Capture, Storage and Utilization (CCSU) Champion from the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen and  Dr Mohammad Sarmadivaleh from WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering, Curtin University and Professor Stefan Iglauer from Curtin University and Edith Cowan University. Dr Jan Vinogradov is an expert in theory of EK phenomenon, EK measurements and simulation. Dr Jan Vinogradov is also one of the very few researches in the world capable of measuring and interpreting EK signal in intact core samples at elevated salinity, temperature and pressure. Dr David Vega-Maza is directorate member of Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) and expert in fluid properties, thermodynamics and rock/fluid interactions. His research interests are focused on the measurement and modelling of thermo-physical properties of fluids, especially of CO2 water solutions. Dr Mohammad Sarmadivaleh is a lecturer in Curtin University and an expert in petroleum geo-mechanics. His research interests are focused on reservoir wettability and CO2sequestration. Professor Stefan Iglauer is an expert in x-ray tomographic imaging (micro- and medical tomography) of rocks containing fluids, EOR and CO2 subsurface behaviour. His research interests are focused on CO2 geo-sequestration and improved hydrocarbon recovery.

Being part of Aberdeen-Curtin scholarship program is a great opportunity for me to work in both Aberdeen and Curtin University. In my case, I also have another opportunity to work in Edith Cowan University because of one of my supervisor also work there. My plan for 2018/2019 is spending one year in Australia at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University to continue my research. I believe with this amazing opportunity, this research will give a great contribution to the future.

Mohammad Hasanuzzaman Shawon 

The topic of my Ph.D research project is ‘Multiple agent based hierarchical control of smart grid using IEC 61850 protocol’. This project will play one of the most vital roles to establish smarter grid. The proposed new mapping of IEC 61850 standards will provide an ability to allow communication between different IEDs and enable more efficient integration of the devices to the grid. IEC 61850 protocol ensures peer to peer communication based on GOOSE (generic object oriented substation events) messages that eventually will help to establish protection mechanism for distributed generations. This project will also focus on different layers of control for secured voltage, stability and real and reactive power control of the grid.

My supervisors are Professor Syed Islam, John Curtin Distinguished Professor, School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences (EECMS) at Curtin University; and Professor Murilo Da Silva Baptista from Institute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology, University of Aberdeen.

Since I was affiliated with the department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Islamic University of Technology, Bangladesh, it was my strong desire to contribute in the field of sustainable energy. While studying in my masters from The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, my door for research and innovation widened and I engaged myself in different projects specially based on Middle East. After my masters, I have been working in European energy sector for several years and have been involved in numerous projects collaborated by different universities and industries. Additionally, working with European Innovation forum provides me the confidence, motivation as well as entrepreneurial skill to contribute in this sector. To fulfil my career goal as well as research objective now I am intend to perform my PhD with the collaboration of The University of Aberdeen, UK and Curtin University, Australia under Aberdeen-Curtin alliance and looking forward to utilize this unique PhD opportunity.

Mulky Winata

I am currently conducting my PhD on The Velocity Structure of Complex Overburden on the NW Shelf of Australia. This research is arranged under the supervision of Professor Chris Elders from School of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University and Dr Vittorio Maselli from School of Geosciences in the Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology at University of Aberdeen. The objective of my research are to identify different sediment bodies and generate a predictive model that combines sedimentary processes with velocity structure. The geomorphology model of sediment bodies is essential for making efficient drilling programs, particularly in the North West Shelf of Australia, which is a key hydrocarbon province. By observing the images on ubiquitous 3D seismic and analyse the well log data sets, overburden sediments and velocity structure can be particularly assumed and determined, which is important for the future studies in the petroleum exploration and production.

I am a 7-year experienced and proficient geoscientist with strong geology and geophysics background, have a B.Sc. in Geophysics from University of Indonesia and an M.Sc. in Petroleum Geoscience from Royal Holloway University of London. I have accomplished in working across disciplines with reservoir- and drilling-engineers as well as handling and running a full cycle of new ventures and exploration projects in Indonesia and Malaysia. My key specialties are basin screening, highly 2D/3D seismic interpretation, prospect evaluation & risk assessment, prospect maturation as well as petroleum system analysis.

By getting a Collaborative Doctor of Philosophy Scholarship Program at Curtin University and University of Aberdeen in geoscience area, I believe that I will comprehensively learn and investigate on how those universities may drive innovation and competition in global research. Moreover, I can take any lessons learnt from the research then adopt anything applicable in my profession. Finally, upon completion of the study I expect myself to be a better professional and decision maker who will leverage any profit organizations be more competitive internationally and be one of the bests in the world.

Zhuoran Zhang

My PhD research project at Curtin University and the University of Aberdeen is ‘The Analysis of Micro Property Data’, which is highly relative to my master research project. In recent decades, government jurisdictions have developed detailed micro level property databases for analysing housing economics in their countries. Micro level data involves managing property records and activity at individual property parcel level, reporting transactions, physical characteristics and geographical location. The data is meaningful in empirical applications of pricing theory in housing markets and real-option pricing theory in financial markets. Well understanding Micro Property Data could be helpful to governors who issue the policies in housing markets, or normal citizens who may be considering their life-cycle costs of their houses (Housing Affordability).

The research methodology includes initially applying two types of models, deterministic models and stochastic models. The predictive performance of these models in the housing markets will be compared. Then, basing on the price index of housing markets built by previous models, the designed and immature actuarial tools or technics will be introduced for enhancing the housing affordability of normal citizens. Moreover, integrating outputs with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) also enables significant advances in spatial econometrics.

I graduated from Bachelor of Science (Mathematics and Computational Science) at Chengdu University of Information Technology, where I gained strong mathematical background. Moreover, I got a Master of Actuarial Studies at Monash University, which equipped me with very strong knowledge of actuarial science and econometrics. This project gives me a chance to apply all of knowledge I learnt from different disciplines. My supervisors are Associate Professor Greg Costello from Curtin Business School and Dr Rainer Schulz from the University of Aberdeen’s Business School.

Spending time in both the University of Aberdeen and Curtin University will provide me with the opportunity to study the housing markets in Scotland and West Australia and compare the difference between these two markets in the different hemisphere. In addition, this is an opportunity to open my view and learn research skills from experts in two countries.