HDR Student Profiles


HDR Students

Sahar Al-shamma

Sahar  Photo

PhD| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: saharalshamaa@hotmail.com

Mycorrhiza and biochar for remediation and plant production in soils polluted with arsenic

Arsenic is a carcinogenic metalloid element that can enter the environment and our food via different pathways. In this project, Sahar is looking at low-cost natural materials to remediate arsenic in soils and to reduce its concentration and uptake in plants grown in arsenic contaminated soil.

Steven Doherty

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PhD| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: sdohert5@myune.edu.au

Identifying Pollution Movement in NSW Catchments for Risk Mitigation

Steven's honours research examined how different amendments can reduce leaching in arsenic and antimony co-contaminated soil. His results helped the remediation of a Urunga, NSW, mining tailings processing plant. He now plans to continue his research with our Pollution Science Research Group.

Simon Court

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Master of Environmental Science and Management| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Combining Rehabilitation Goals: Decontamination of PAH soils and Revegetation with Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass)

Simon is looking at using the native Australian plant, Kangaroo Grass, to facilitate degradation of persistent organic contaminants in soil. If successful, it will optimise revegetation strategies across contaminated sites in Australia.

Georgia Rogan

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Honours| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: grogan@myune.edu.au

Rapid determination of contamination legacies from Central Thailand bronze-age copper smelting

Georgia’s research involves analysis of Bronze Age copper soil pollution in Central Thailand. She is assessing the relationship between total copper, mobile copper and total carbon to further our understanding of the behaviour of copper across extremely long time periods.

Harry Dube

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MSc| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: pdube@myune.edu.au

Municipal Solid Waste compost effects on maize and sorghum biomass and heavy metal uptake

The use of municipal solid waste compost has the potential to reduce waste going into landfill sites and benefit crop production as soil ameliorant. However, the benefits have to be balanced with risk. Harry’s project is looking at the effects of application rates of compost produced from municipal solid waste on biomass production and uptake of lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, and zinc.

Maximilian Obinna Obiakor

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PhD| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: mobiako2@une.edu.au

Ecotoxicity Assessment for Antimony Pollution in Contaminated Ecosystems

Maxi’s research explores and quantifies antimony bioavailability and bioaccumulation in aquatic foodchains. Maxi is also investigating ecotoxic impacts on representative aquatic organisms.

Sajanee Ganga Gunadasa Hene Kapuralalage

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PhD| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: hgunadas@myune.edu.au

Cadmium and Arsenic in Sri Lankan Farm Soils: An analysis of Sources, Chemistry, Threats and Best Available Techniques for Remediation

Sajanee has an Endeavour postgraduate scholarship. In Sri Lanka, widespread chronic kidney disease is attributed to soil and water contamination by exposure to As and Cd through overuse of fertilisers and pesticides - a type of contamination which affects millions of people in developing nations. Sajanee’s research investigates the potential of biochar and other organic amendments as cost effective in-situ remediation options for these contaminated soils.

Atefeh Esmaeili

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PhD| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) contaminated soils: Quantifying treatment effects on microbial communities, bioavailability and ecotoxicity for safe soil reuse

The aim of Atefeh’s research is to identify the most appropriate method for assessing the PAHs bioavailability in aged contaminated soils.

Kirsten Drew

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PhD| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: kdrew4@myune.edu.au

Risk of Glyphosate Weed Management on High Conversation Island Environments

Kirsten’s honours research sought to better enable plants to extract arsenic and antimony pollutants from soils.

Etido Umoren

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PhD| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: eumoren@myune.edu.au

Impact Of Environmental Pollution On Agricultural Communities: Crude Oil Contamination Of Foodchains In The Niger Delta, Nigeria

This project involves a holistic ecotoxicological audit/assessment on food safety for the inhabitants of the crude oil contaminated Niger Delta region in Nigeria. This will be achieved through direct sampling of the foodchain and surveying the impact on the environment and people.

Calvin Leech

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PhD| School of Environmental & Rural Science

Email: cleech@myune.edu.au

Optimising the bioremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) contaminated soil using a composting approach with organic amendments

My research is focused on investigating the effects of optimised composting systems on PAH contaminated gaswork soils. A major aim is to determine a cost effective biological remediation method, which is suitable for use by industry.

Jim McFarlane

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PhD Candidate| UNE Business School

Email: Jmcfarl3@myune.edu.au

Before becoming an applied economist, I had over 25 years of experience of working in Hospitality, Agriculture, Construction and Trade-related industries, and have  spent considerable time in many third world countries. My research interests are primarily in the area of agricultural and regional economics. They include the application of economic principles and models to measure the structure of an economy; impact assessment and the effects  from technological change, marketing  programs, and government policies; production economics; value chain analysis; wine economics. My PhD is on the economic impacts of  the wine industry  in the Central West of NSW.

The economic impacts of the wine industry in the Central West of NSW

Helena Pastor

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PhD Graduand| School of Arts

Creative Research Practice

Helena Pastor is a casual lecturer in the School of Arts. Her creative writing has attracted two Australian Society of Authors’ Mentorships, along with a number of residencies at Varuna Writers’ House and Bundanon. She has extensive experience as an educator, and has worked with groups ranging from Bosnian refugees to university-level creative writing students.

Kate Wright

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow| School of Arts

Email: kwrigh33@une.edu.au

Nourishing Culture and Developing Social Capital in a Community Garden

Kate’s research is situated in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Humanities and looks at the way inter-species relationships nourish and sustain resilient environments and communities, with a particular focus on social and environmental justice. Her current postdoctoral project ‘Nourishing Culture and Developing Social Capital in a Community Garden’ involves working collaboratively with local Aboriginal community members, organisations and Elders to develop a community garden on a block of land that was once part of an Aboriginal reserve.

Through the lens of multi-species ethnography, the garden will be a space to experiment with alternatives to neoliberal, colonial and anthropocentric modes of thinking and living. The project will expand the notion of community into a ‘mixed community’ of humans and non-humans to ask innovative questions, such as: Can a plant be a mentor? Can bush foods retain cultural knowledge? Can worms teach us how to develop more sustainable modes of living? Community members will be co-researchers, bridging the gap between traditional and academic knowledges and between local action and global change.

This research project is integrated with an innovative training and education pathway program that links Aboriginal environmental knowledges with sustainability and environmental science. This program will be conducted through the garden site by UNE in partnership with TAFE New England, Jobs Australia, Best Employment, BackTrack Youthworks, and the Clontarf Academy (Armidale High School).

Rob Waters

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PhD Candidate| School of Arts

Email: rwaters20@myune.edu.au

Gauging the potential of storytelling and poetry to transmit culture, values and knowledge through oral stories