Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses recipients announced

29 Sep 2023
John Niland Scientia Building

Seventy-two UNSW PhD candidates have been recognised for their high-quality PhD theses. 

To receive this award, candidates must produce a thesis that requires only minimal corrections, received outstanding and/or excellent levels of achievement for all examination criteria, and in the opinion of both examiners is in the top 10 per cent of PhD theses they have examined. Examiners are external to the University and are leaders in their fields. 

“Our PhD candidates are undertaking innovative research across the entire breadth of UNSW’s disciplinary areas and are a vital part of our research efforts,” said Professor Jonathan Morris, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Dean of Graduate Research. 

“These awards recognise the outstanding theses produced in the last year and highlight the high-quality research our candidates are carrying out across a wide range of fields.” 

The awards are listed below by Faculty. Further details about this award have been published on the HDR Hub

Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture 


Thesis title 

Costanza Bergo 

Atlas of Denial: Australian Landscape and the Settler-Colonial Structure of Feeling 

Max Bledstein 

Shocking Exchange: The Iranian Horror Film 

Mara Davis 

Never Been Better: Australian Musical Theatre and the National Imaginary, 2008–2017 

Sheridan Dudley 

Politicians as policy makers in large-scale education system reform: The development of Local Schools, Local Decisions in NSW 

Nathan Jackson 

Persona Play in Videogame Livestreaming: An Ethnography of Performance on Twitch 

Luke Robinson 

Facing erasure: the disappearing faces of 1940s Hollywood gothic cinema 

Anne-Marie Schwirtlich 

Widows and the Raj: British Women Widowed in India, 1860–1900 


UNSW Business School 


Thesis title 

Fabian Dienemann 

Essays in Asset Pricing and Microstructure of Fixed Income Markets 


Faculty of Engineering 


Thesis title 

Sumaiya Afroz 

Shrinkage, cracking and self-healing in low carbon cement concrete 

Yoann Buratti 

Machine learning for advanced characterisation of silicon solar cells 

Xingxing Chen  

Flow Physics in 3D Bio-printed Droplets 

Hsu-Kang Dow 

Memory Safety Acceleration on RISC-V for C Programming Language 

Pooja Gupta 

Autonomy, Efficiency, Privacy and Traceability in Blockchain-enabled IoT Data Marketplace 

Mark Helou 

Optimisation and Characterisation of Lattice Structures for Functional Requirements 

Philippa Higgins 

Remote tree-ring proxies: methods, opportunities, and limitations for reconstructing South Pacific climate 

Trung Thien Hoang 

Shape Programmable and Multifunctional Soft Textile Muscles for Robotics and Wearable Applications  

Woojeong Kim 

On designing pea/whey protein complexes for microencapsulation of lipophilic bioactive compounds 

Zakhar Lanetc 

Hybrid numerical methods for multiphysics simulation of flow in coal 

Joshua Leverett 

Structure-Activity Relationships of Single Atom Catalysts for the Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Value Added Products 

Qingya Li 

A Framework for Size-dependent Structural Analysis of Smart Micro/nanoplates 

Yun Li 

Generalization and Specialization in Zero-Shot Learning 

Lakshminarayanan Mohana Kumar 

Fibre orientation and distribution in steel fibre reinforced concrete 

Michael Moschetti 

Refractory High-Entropy Alloys for Advanced Nuclear Applications 

Phuoc Thien Phan 

Bio-Inspired Soft Artificial Muscles for Robotic and Healthcare Applications 

Guntur Dharma Putra 

Blockchain-based Trust and Reputation Management for Securing IoT 

Junma Tang 

Mechanochemical application of liquid metals 

Constantine Tsounis 

Designing Metal/Carbon Hybrid Electrocatalysts for the Hydrogen and Oxygen Evolution Reactions 

Yifang Wang 

Synthesis of molybdenum-based two-dimensional materials with liquid metal 

Zilong Wu 

Photo-RAFT Polymerization Regulated by NIR Light for Well-Defined Polymer Synthesis 

Zhouzun Xie 

Multi-resolution modelling of polydisperse particulate flow in solid-liquid systems 

Ho Lung Yip 

Hydrogen Jet Combustion in Engine-relevant Conditions 

Zhiheng Zhang 

The Application of Photomediated RAFT Polymerisation in 3D Printing 

Shujie Zhou 

Optimizing Cu2ZnSnS4 Based Photocathodes for Photoelectrocatalytic Reactions 


Faculty of Law & Justice 


Thesis title 

Allison Henry 

Regulatory responses to addressing and preventing sexual assault and harassment in Australian university settings 

Yuanjun Zeng 

Participation of Adult Sexual Assault Victims in the Criminal Justice Process: A Comparative Analysis of Approaches in Australia and China 


Faculty of Medicine & Health 


Thesis title 

Hafiz Afzal 

Sensory mechanisms involved in obtaining frictional information for perception and grip force adjustment during object manipulation 

Soumyadeep Bhaumik 

Addressing the burden of snakebite: analysing policy prioritisation, evaluating health systems, and fostering research on clinical outcomes for effective and safe treatment 

Alexander Corri 

Elucidating the Dormant Cancer Cell Niche in Bone using Single-Cell Transcriptomics 

Christina Fichter 

Development of Novel Transient Delivery Systems for Gene Therapy 

Clarissa Gok 

Assessing and addressing social well-being and social anxiety among adolescents and young adults with cancer in Australia 

Rajendra Gyawali 

Optimising The Appropriateness Of Diabetic Eyecare Delivery In Australia 

S. M. Hosen 

Targeting the Urokinase Plasminogen Activator System Combined with Chemotherapy – a Potentially Novel Therapeutic Approach for Pancreatic Cancer 

Mary Revelas 

The Genetic and Epigenetic Factors of Exceptional Longevity 

Emalie Rosewarne 

Evaluations of nutrition policy and advocacy to improve the food environment in Australia 

Erin Sparrow 

Monoclonal antibodies and vaccines against infectious diseases: Influenza, rabies and respiratory syncytial virus 

Melinda Toomey 

iCareTrack: Improving the Appropriateness of Australian Glaucoma Eyecare Delivery (ImAAGED) 

Nelson Wang 

Cardiovascular prevention through improved blood pressure and cholesterol lowering 

Shiying Zheng 

Antibody-Mediated Thrombocytopenias: Novel Mechanisms and Potential Treatment 


Faculty of Science 


Thesis title 

Hudson Coates 

Substrate-induced activation of the rate-limiting cholesterol synthesis enzyme squalene monooxygenase 

Matthew Donnelly 

Electron Tunnelling in Atomically Precise 3D Silicon Nanostructures 

Aaron Eger 

Restoring and valuing global kelp forest ecosystems 

Tobias Foller 

Role of In-plane Pores and Graphitic Domains in Mass Transport through Graphene Oxide Membranes 

Jordan Gacutan 

Using citizen science data to inform marine debris research, management and policy at multiple scales 

Karthik Gopi 

Development of a scientifically robust analytical tool for determining seafood provenance based on isotopic and elemental fingerprinting 

Jennifer Hudson 

Molecular interactions between pathogenic marine Bacteroidota and their macroalgal host 

Zeb Krix 

Controlling interaction effects in artificial crystals 

Jiasui Li 

Microbial symbiosis and host disease resistance in marine macroalgae 

Maxwell Moyle 

Microstructural Investigations of 17-4 PH Stainless Steel Fabricated via Laser Powder Bed Fusion 

Domenic Pace 

Mechanisms in Iodine Catalysis and the Design of New Advanced Photoactive Materials 

Pietro Pollo 

Understanding and challenging stereotypical sex differences in reproductive behaviours 

Joseph Rowlands 

The Development of a Scalable Atomic Quantum Integrated Circuit 

Wenting Chen 

Investigating empathy in hoarding and its potential as a psychosocial treatment target 

Alan Stoneham 

AC(sigma)-operators and Functions of Bounded Variation 

Zhen Su 

Rational Design of Electrodes and Electrolytes for High-Performance Proton Batteries 

Vitor Vieira Rielli 

Processing-Structure-Property Relationships in Directly Aged Alloy 718 

James Watson 

Methane And Other Unlikely Ligands: An NMR Study Of Alkane Sigma Complexes 

Laura Wimberger 

Visible light-induced pH control and its applications 


UNSW Canberra 


Thesis title 

Ibrahim Al-Ani 

High-Q Resonant Modes for Light-Matter Interaction Enhancement in Emerging Semiconductor Materials 

Tarun Kumer Biswas 

Modeling and Solving Influence Maximization Problems in Social Networks 

Michaela Cully-Hugill 

Explicit estimates for the distribution of primes 

Wan Nur Atikah Haji Wan Nafi 

Controlled precipitation and bubble sizes in a bubble column evaporator 

Paulo Vasconcelos 

High-Speed Fluid-Structure Interactions on a Compliant Panel