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Curtin awards top honour to nine distinguished researchers

Media release

Curtin University has awarded nine leading researchers the title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor, the highest honour the University can award its academic staff.

Curtin University campus

The title was awarded to Professor Craig Buckley and Professor Tele Tan from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Professor Donna Chung, Professor Phill Della, Professor Zhonghua Sun, and Professor John Mamo from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Alan Duncan and Professor Marylene Gagne from the Faculty of Business and Law, and Professor Rod Ellis from the Faculty of Humanities.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery congratulated the recipients on receiving the prestigious title.

“The title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor recognises the sustained contributions our leading academics make to the University, to their disciplines, and to the wider community,” Professor Cordery said.

“The nine recipients are all leaders in their research fields, hold prestigious reputations locally, nationally, and internationally, display exceptional teaching skills, and have enjoyed a long list of significant achievements throughout their distinguished careers.

“I am delighted to recognise all the recipients who have helped to build on Curtin’s reputation locally and internationally by making significant contributions to their research field.”

Professor Craig Buckley leads the Hydrogen Energy research at Curtin University and is recognised internationally for his work on hydrogen storage materials. He is the Australian Executive Committee member on the International Energy Agency (IEA) Hydrogen Technology Collaboration Program (TCP), and is an Australian expert on the IEA Hydrogen TCP Task 40 Hydrogen Energy Storage and Conversion. Throughout his career he has been a lead/ co-investigator on over $100 million of research funding. Professor Buckley is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics, and has published 183 peer reviewed Journal articles, which have attracted over 5,700 citations.

Professor Donna Chung is internationally recognised for her expertise and leadership in the prevention of gendered violence. Her work has impacted on policy and practice, influencing government and community and supports in her area of expertise. Professor Chung has demonstrated sustained exceptional high impact research skills through her work in gendered violence. Professor Chung has been CIA or senior investigator on 10 category one grants since 2013, demonstrating both national and international collaborations. Professor Chung has also demonstrated an outstanding long term commitment to social work education demonstrated by the strength of the course provided at Curtin University.

Professor Phill Della has served as the Head of Curtin’s School of Nursing since 2008, and was Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Health Sciences from 2011 to 2012. Professor Della’s career has been spent at the interface of academia and professional practice in nursing and midwifery. In recognition of his significant contribution, Professor Della was named as a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia in 2019 and in 2018 he received the Lifetime Achievement Honour at the Western Australian Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards. Professor Della continues to publish peer­ reviewed journal articles each year in outlets with a high level of visibility. He also continues with his significant teaching contribution to the University’s nursing program at Curtin Singapore.

Professor Alan Duncan is the Director of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and has an established international reputation for academic scholarship in the development of econometric and policy evaluation methods, and their application to economic, social, health and public policy issues. He is ranked in the top five per cent of economists worldwide overall. One of the most significant of Professor Duncan’s achievements has been leading the development of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre. The highly influential partnership with Bankwest has been an outstanding success in creating an evidence base for informed policy making and impacting positively on the lives of West Australians. The research centre is held in high regard by external stakeholders from politics, government, industry and the community sectors.

Professor Rod Ellis is a Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize winner and British applied linguist. He has also been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and is currently Research Professor in the School of Education at Curtin, Professor at Anaheim University, Visiting Professor at Shanghai International Studies University as part of China’s Chang Jiang Scholars Program, and an Emeritus Professor of the University of Auckland. Professor Ellis has worked in language teacher education for 45 years in Zambia, United Kingdom, Japan, United States of America, New Zealand, China and now Australia.

Professor Marylene Gagne is a Professor at the Future of Work Institute and has significantly contributed to the development and refinement of self-determination theory for use in the field of organisational psychology and management. Much of Professor Gagne’s research has been produced in collaboration with industry, resulting in several company reports including the creation of a new leadership training program and volunteer management frameworks. Her basic and applied work has had a significant impact on how organisations manage employee engagement, performance and well-being.

Professor John Mamo is the Director of the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) based at Curtin and is a physiologist known internationally for his lipoprotein and vascular kinetic studies in the context of heart disease and cerebro-vascular based disorders. Professor Mamo’s laboratory was the first to demonstrate changes in the integrity of the blood-brain barrier with ageing, as well as interactive effects with dietary fat. They have identified potential restorative approaches that, if successful, could substantially improve the quality of life of people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. He was awarded the National Health and Medical Research Council’s most prestigious award for the most potentially innovative and transformative project among grant applications received in 2014.

Professor Zhonghua Sun has demonstrated significant contributions to the medical radiation science and healthcare profession through his outstanding research knowledge and skills, as well as excellent service to the professional bodies. His main research output is recognised by the significant impact on cardiovascular disease with use of novel 3D visualisation and diagnostic tools for assisting clinical diagnosis, effective patient management and improvement of patient care. His exceptional teaching skills have led to supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research students to completion of numerous research projects with use of latest cutting-edge technologies in medicine and radiology practice.

Professor Tele Tan is an advocate of cross discipline demand-driven research, spanning Engineering, Computing and Health Sciences. He is passionate about using technology to benefit people with health, developmental or socio-economic disadvantage and utilises his varied skill set to promote research in this area. One of his key contributions to the Curtin and Australian community is the establishment of Curtin’s Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA), assisting neurodiverse students in education training and employment.