Research in Health, Medical and Applied Sciences

The School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences has a broad range of research activities. The applied nature of the research across the school is an important unifying theme for all research activities. Research impact is driven by a focus on research quality but also through a push for industry and community outcomes that arise from a strong focus on ‘making a difference’. Wherever possible we use our research to support our undergraduate teaching to further enhance the research impact.

Research and research higher degree student supervision is focused on the following areas:

Research in Agricultural Management Systems spans:

  • Precision Livestock Management which has a strong focus on utilising emerging wireless sensor network (WSN) technologies to derive information that can be used to better understand livestock production systems.
  • Precision Horticulture which undertakes research on crop management technologies and approaches in tropical and subtropical horticultural crops. The group places a strong emphasis on research that can deliver improvements in industry profitability and productivity, and where possible involves close collaboration with industry partners.
  • Non-invasive Sensor Systems which endeavours to develop and deliver ‘sensing solutions’ relevant to value chains in agriculture. The research has involved work across disciplines, from spectroscopy and chemometrics to the agronomy of the application.

Key researchers in Agricultural Management Systems include:

  • Dr Surya Bhattarai
  • Professor Philip Brown (Precision Horticulture Research area coordinator)
  • Professor Dave Swain (Precision Livestock Management Research area coordinator)
  • Professor Kerry Walsh (Non-invasive Sensor Systems Research area coordinator)

Research in Environmental Monitoring and Management spans:

  • Aquatic Ecology and Ecotoxicology which conducts research into aquatic ecosystem monitoring, assessment, management and reporting to help to minimise anthropogenic impacts on aquatic environments.
  • Coastal Environment and Restoration which focuses on coastal and marine ecological research, marine environmental monitoring, impact assessment, and coastal habitat restoration. We work primarily in the Port of Gladstone, one of Australia’s largest multi-commodity ports.
  • Conservation Biology which focuses on how to protect and restore biodiversity. Conservation Biology research at CQUniversity addresses the conservation and management of species, their habits and their interaction with humans.  Research in this area draws on the traditional biological disciplines (zoology, botany, ecology and behaviour) in combinations with social science, geography and economics to provide system-wide solutions which allow for continued human prosperity and ecosystem health.

Active researchers in Environmental Monitoring and Management include:

  • Dr Amie Anastasi
  • Dr James Chapman
  • Dr Delma Clifton
  • Associate Professor Leo Duivenvoorden
  • Associate Professor Larelle Fabbro
  • Dr Nicole Flint (Aquatic Ecology and Ecotoxicology Research area coordinator)
  • Wayne Houston
  • Dr Andrew Irving (Coastal Environment and Restoration Research area coordinator)
  • Dr Emma Jackson
  • Professor Owen Nevin (Conservation Biology Research area coordinator)
  • Dr Judith Wake

Research in Medical and Applied Physiology spans:

  • Muscular and Skeletal Health which considers how physical activity results in improved health and performance outcomes. There is a focus on evaluating training, performance, recovery and injury prevention for improved health and for improved performance for professional and Masters athletes.
  • Metabolic and Physiological Health which focuses on interactions between physiology and metabolism. The applied outcomes are developed in the context of therapies and pharmacology.

Active researchers in Medical and Applied Physiology include:

  • Dr James Chapman
  • Dr Vincent Dalbo
  • Dr Andrew Fenning
  • Associate Professor Brendan Humphries
  • Dr Crystal Kean
  • Associate Professor Peter Reaburn
  • Dr Betul Sekendiz
  • Dr Rob Stanton
  • Professor Andrew Taylor-Robinson
  • Dr Susan Williams

CQUniversity’s Advanced Clinical Practice research strength area is based around an emerging focus on paramedic science, oral health, medical sonography, chiropractic and medical imaging. The School has a large teaching program in clinical practices, which involves clinical practitioners. The Advanced Clinical Practice area aims to conduct research that is specialized in both innovative clinical practice and clinical teaching.

Active researchers in Advanced Clinical Practice include:

  • Professor Brian Maguire

The Appleton Institute is internationally renowned for its research in sleep, circadian rhythms, and fatigue management. The Appleton houses a 6-bed sleep laboratory which allows not only the measurement of sleep and wakefulness but also the complete isolation of participants from all cues to the time and day/night cycle. This allows us to more clearly investigate responses to challenges such as sleep deprivation, circadian misalignment associated with shift work and jetlag, and intense athletic training.

Specific projects currently investigate the impact of sleep restriction on development of diabetes, sleep disturbance while being on-call, the link between sleep and mental health, sleep strategies for babies and infants, and the impact of sleep loss on gut function.

Active researchers in this area include:

  • Professor Drew Dawson
  • Professor Sally Ferguson
  • Associate Professor Greg Roach
  • Associate Professor Sarah Blunden
  • Dr Jess Paterson
  • Dr Charli Sargent
  • Dr Sarah Jay
  • Dr Amy Reynolds

Australia, like most regions of the world, is rapidly ageing.

The Physical Activity Research Group has a strong focus on population health and health behaviour change. Increasing population levels of physical activity and decreasing sitting time are the two behaviours of main interest. To change behaviour we first need to know what influences this behaviour, then we can develop and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. We also have a focus on using innovative communication technology (e.g. smartphones and websites) to improve health behaviours.

We have several NHMRC and ARC projects underway (e.g., 10,000 Steps, TaylorActive, WALK 2.0, Active Team). We also work with the Population Research Laboratory to conduct population surveys.

Active researchers in this area include:

  • Associate Professor Corneel Vandelanotte
  • Dr Amanda Rebar
  • Dr Stephanie Schoeppe

The study of non-human animals and the way we interact with them is an exciting field of research that has developed rapidly over the past decades. The Appleton Institute has this multidisciplinary field covered. Research areas include animal behaviour with a focus on understanding the causes, functions, development, and evolution of behaviour in non-human animals; the importance of animals in human lives and human behaviours, values, attitudes and beliefs around animals; and the psychology of human-animal interactions, ranging from the human-animal violence link to evaluating the benefit of including animals in therapy programs for abused children and adults.

Active researchers in this area include:

  • Dr Bradley Smith
  • Dr Kirrilly Thompson
  • Associate Professor Tania Signal

A key research focus in this theme is our work in child-centred disaster risk reduction. A large study funded by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC examines the role of children in the development of community resilience to disasters. ARC and CRC funding also supports a program examining the management of animals in disasters with the aim of supporting better/earlier decision-making.

Disaster risk – death, injury, economic loss, psychological damage - is not random, but rather its distribution maps onto existing social inequalities. The homeless, elderly, children and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, are often more vulnerable to disasters; they may not know what hazards they at risk of, how to plan for those hazards, where to get information from (in a format that is suitable), or may not hear or understand disaster warning and recovery messaging following a disaster.

Active researchers in this area include:

  • Professor Kevin Ronan
  • Dr Wendy Madsen
  • Dr Danielle Every
  • Dr Kirrilly Thompson

The Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory uses experiment, simulation and observation to generate new knowledge to help protect, preserve and promote the well-being of players while contributing to the sustainability of the gambling industry. The lab is currently conducting research on behalf of Gambling Research Australia, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

The laboratory conducts theoretical and applied research on the psychological mechanisms underlying addictive behaviour including:

  • The psychological mechanisms and personality dimensions underlying addictive gambling behaviour.
  • Quantitative and psychometric testing and validation of instruments related to gambling and attitudes to gambling.
  • Evaluation of the functional and audio-visual characteristics (e.g. jackpots) of electronic gambling machines (i.e., Pokies or Slots).
  • The neurocognitive basis of gambling addiction using behavioural measures and non-invasive physiological measures.

In addition, the Addictive Behaviours Group investigates psychological factors contributing to health and well-being. Our theoretical and applied research investigates the psychological mechanisms underlying consumption driven behaviour. This includes exploring the psychological, psychopharmacological and dietary-related mechanisms that might underpin consumptive and addictive behaviour, and the development of feature extraction and statistical pattern recognition methods for the analysis of psychophysiological data.

Active researchers in this area include:

  • Professor Matthew Rockloff
  • Associate Professor Matthew Browne
  • Professor Nerilee Hing
  • Dr En Li
  • Dr Alex Russell
  • Dr Lisa Lole
  • Mr Vijay Rawat
  • Philip Newall

PhD Students include:

  • Nancy Greer
  • Hannah Brajkovich (née Thorne)
  • Brenton Williams
  • Catherine Tulloch
  • Cailem Murray Boyle

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CQUniversity Australia researchers Professor Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer were named Ig Nobel Laureates in 2017 for their published paper, “Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines Is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal”.

Our Health Promotion researchers are interested in a range of avenues of promoting health at individual, organisational, community and national levels. We have particular interests in sexual health, food choices and healthy communities. We utilise a range of quantitative, qualitative, historical and participatory approaches to our research.

Active researchers in this area include:

  • Dr Wendy Madsen
  • Dr Catherine O'Mullan
  • Dr Karena Burke

Human Factors and Safety Science centres on studying people at work in order to understand workplace behaviour and human error, and to achieve enhancements to safety and productivity. At the core of this, is effective system design, including personnel and their training, equipment and machinery, and the working environment itself. Human Factors is multi-disciplinary and combines psychology, engineering, ergonomics, management and industrial design. Our research in this area includes:

  • Safety-case from Driver Only Operations in the rail sector
  • Coordinated decision making in bushfires
  • Biases in supervisor’s risk assessments
  • Goal seduction and situation aversion
  • Fatigue risk management - policy and practice

Active researchers in this area include:

  • Associate Professor Matthew Thomas
  • Dr Anjum Naweed
  • Dr Chris Bearman
  • Dr Karen Klockner
  • Professor Sally Ferguson
  • Professor Drew Dawson
  • Dr Jess Paterson

More people are living healthier and longer lives. According to the World Health Organization “ageing is a challenge that cannot be addressed by the public or private sectors in isolation. Rather, ageing requires joint approaches and strategies.” Ageing is acknowledged as one of the major forces of this millennium; one that provides both many challenges and many opportunities for social progress and development.

Ageing is a transdisciplinary research field that includes projects across public health and epidemiology, allied health (including occupational therapy, podiatry, physiotherapy, speech therapy, chiropractic), psychology, sociology, design and the built environment, technology solutions, and health services research.

Active researchers in this area include:

  • Professor Lynne Parkinson
  • Professor Carolyn Unsworth
  • Ms Erika Langham