2017 School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Postgraduate Research Conference

The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Postgraduate Research Conference event will allow attendees to gain some insight into the research undertaken by postgraduate students within the school.

The theme for the Conference is Building Bridges Within and Beyond Academia’. It is with this collaborative spirit in mind that presenters from Allied Health professions have been selected to showcase their projects.

The keynote speeches and panel discussions will address how, within the research domain, we can bridge gaps between disciplines, countries and professional frameworks. The conversation will also extend beyond research, to address the ever-important translation of research findings into clinical practice and public awareness.

Unfortunately due to a lack of interest the 2017 PGRC Networking event has been cancelled. Those who have purchased a ticket will be refunded. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email the 2017 PGRC committee.


Register for Conference


The SHRS Postgraduate Research Conference will feature presentations on the following research disciplines:

Research Themes

This year’s presentations will address the following research themes:

  • Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
  • Healthy Start to Life
  • Ageing
  • Participation and Disability
  • Professional Education and Practice
  • Telerehabilitation

Keynote Speakers

This year we will be having a keynote speaker panel discussion addressing the theme of this year’s conference ‘Building Bridges Within and Beyond Academia’. The panel will consist of representatives from each predominant discipline (Physiotherapy, Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, and Audiology).

Keynote biographies:

Petrea Cornwell B.SpPath (Hons), PhD MSPA CPSP

A/Prof Cornwell is a speech pathologist with 20+ years clinical and research experience in the field of acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation. She graduated from the University of Queensland with her PhD in 2003).  For the past 14 years she has worked across academic and health care environments conducting her own research and supporting clinicians to develop their research skills. Her research investigates issues relating to goal-setting, assessment and management of cognitive-communication disorders, and interdisciplinary models of acquired brain injury rehabilitation. She has places significant emphasis on her research being focused on clinically relevant issues. Petrea is the author or co-author of approximately 100 publications, has been awarded approximately $1.5 million in grant funding, supported 10 doctoral candidates to completion, and is currently working with 12 doctoral candidates.

Bill Vicenzino PhD MSc GradDipSportsPhty BPhty

Bill is a Professor in Sports Physiotherapy at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is the Director of the Master of Physiotherapy programs in Musculoskeletal & Sports Physiotherapy and of the Sports Injury Rehabilitation and Prevention for Health research unit. Bill's focus is on musculoskeletal health, pain and injury. He has received over $25 million in research funds (from NHMRC, ARC and industry) and conducts clinical trials on treatments such as exercise, manual therapy, injections, advice/education, and orthoses/taping. One trial on physiotherapy versus steroid injections for tennis elbow was rated as a top 15 /29,000 (PEDro-indexed) ‘…ground breaking trials that changed the way people are treated…’ and ‘…mark important milestones in the evolution of physiotherapy treatment…’ He has supervised 21 PhD completions and has communicated his research in over 200 peer-reviewed journal publications, 2 books, 35 chapters, and in over 300 podium/workshop presentations.

Barbra Timmer PhD, MBA, MAudSA CCP

Prior to commencing her PhD, Barbra gained clinical audiology experience at Australian Hearing and the Free University of Amsterdam, and industry experience at Sonova AG in Australia and Switzerland. One of her motivations in pursuing a PhD was to build a stronger bridge between academia and the hearing care industry, and she hopes to achieve this in her concurrent roles as Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Audiology, at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Research Programs Manager at Sonova AG.

Her current research interests include the real-world challenges and audiological outcomes for adults with hearing impairment, the implementation of family-centred care in audiological practice, and teleaudiology.



Associate Professor Sally Bennett

Sally is an Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The University of Queensland. She has a long standing interest in evidence-based practice and knowledge translation with substantial research, teaching, service, and presentations in this area both nationally and internationally. She has approximately 90 publications and has received over $3.22 million in research funding. She is a co-editor of a text on evidence-based practice, and is a founder of OTseeker: a database of randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews relevant to occupational therapy used extensively worldwide. Currently she is leading a large NHMRC funded knowledge translation project to investigate the implementation of an occupational therapy program to support people with dementia and their carers who live at home in the community. She is actively involved in disseminating research about occupational therapy and is on the editorial board of both the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal and Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy.  

Lawrence Casey

Having over 13 years’ experience in the Education, Employment and Disability sector, Lawrence has held a variety of roles from Disability advocacy and work readiness programs to heading up government funded initiatives targeting disadvantaged young people and their re-engagement with education and the workforce. As a Careers Adviser within the UQ Careers Service, Lawrence assists students to connect with industry and prepare for ever changing gradate recruitment processes. Additionally, he is responsible for guiding academic staff across the university on  ‘Work Integrated Learning’ activities to provide students authentic experiences and career focused assessment items.



Moderator: David Copland

Professor David Copland is a Principal Research Fellow and Speech Pathologist conducting research in the areas of language neuroscience, psycholinguistics, and neuroimaging of normal and disordered language. He is Deputy Chair of the Research and Postgraduate Studies Committee of the UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and is a group leader at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research where he leads the Language Neuroscience Laboratory.


Registration for the conference is free and includes morning tea, lunch, and afternoon refreshments. If you would like to attend the conference, please follow the link below to register. Everyone is welcome to attend the conference. 



RHD and Honours students are invited to present at the conference. Presenting at the Postgraduate Research Conference affords you with:

  • A great way to meet candidature milestones
  • An opportunity to share your research within a supportive and collegial environment
  • A chance to develop skills required to communicate research ideas and findings to a diverse audience
  • A platform to showcase your quality research
  • The opportunity to practice and refine your oral presentation skills
  • A certificate for presenting at the conference and a chance to WIN PRIZES

If you would like to present your research at this year’s conference please follow click below. 


Note: The topic that you submit in the EOI form is not final and can be altered at a later date. You are free to change or withdraw at any time. The information mainly assists with planning for the committee team.  


Best Pre-Confirmation Presentation: $250 from SHRS

Best Post-Confirmation Presentation: $500 from SHRS

Best Honors Presentation: $50 from SHRS

Best Discipline Specific Awards:

Occupational Therapy: Gift hamper (worth $50) from Merlo Coffee & conference registration travel prize $100 from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Audiology: $200 gift card & certificate from Audiology Australia

Speech Pathology: 50% reduction on the INSPIRE Adelaide 2018 national conference registration fee & a certificate from Speech Pathology Australia

Physiotherapy: $100 off APA membership for 2018 & a certificate and letter for presentation at the event from Physiotherapy Association Australia


PCRC Committee Members

Salma Charania (PGRC Committee Chair)
Salma Charania is the Chair of the 2017 Postgraduate Research Conference. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology in Canada and her Masters of Speech Pathology Studies at the University of Queensland.  Salma began her PhD in 2016 in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Her combined passion for speech pathology and research has led Salma to investigate the communication decline in people with Motor Neuron Disease (also known as ALS) and the impact it has on the people with MND and their family and friends. Moreover, Salma is a recipient of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation PhD Scholarship.


Alana Hutchison

Alana is a Speech Pathologist and PhD candidate at the University of Queensland. She graduated with a bachelor of Speech Pathology in 2015 and took on a role as a project officer of a large scale clinical implementation project throughout 2016. During 2016, Alana developed a keen interest in pursuing a clinical research career and enrolled to undertake a PhD. Alana’s PhD is exploring how novel radiotherapy techniques may be employed within clinical settings to improve the clinical management of patients with a head and neck cancer. Alana supplements her research work with clinical work at The Princess Alexandra Hospital and spends a large amount of time volunteering with the Cancer Council Queensland.


Marie-Pier McSween

Marie is a Speech Pathologist and PhD candidate at The University of Queensland School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Prior to her PhD studies, Marie completed a Bachelor and a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the Université de Montréal (Canada) and worked in acute care as a research assistant at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal (Canada).

Marie is currently conducting research in the areas of ageing, exercise and language neuroscience. Marie’s research interests lie in understanding the acute effects of exercise on new word learning in a population of healthy older adults and to develop new approaches to optimise interventions with patients presenting with language impairments following an acquired brain injury (e.g. stroke).

Nicola Bell

Nicola Bell is currently completing her PhD at The University of Queensland, having graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology. The topic of her PhD is literacy development in children with cochlear implants, and her research interests extend more broadly to include language and literacy development in all school-age children.




Katelyn Melvin

Since completing my undergraduate degree at UQ, Katelyn has worked clinically across a number of adult acute and rehabilitation settings at The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane. She has also worked with parents of children with developmental delay in a consultative role at a not-for-profit social justice organisation. Katelyn is currently completing her PhD at The University of Queensland in the area of early intervention for children who are at high risk of having speech and language difficulties. In particular, she is interested in how speech pathologists can help families of these children to be more involved in intervention.




Riaz Uddin

Riaz is a PhD student at The University of Queensland School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. His research looks at physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour prevalence, patterns, correlates, and links with physical and psychosocial wellbeing in Bangladeshi young adults. He holds an academic position at the Department of Pharmacy, Stamford University Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Riaz’s broad interests are in behavioural epidemiology of young adult physical activity and health.  He is interested in population-based prospective studies of physical activity and interventions to optimise psychosocial and physical wellbeing.


Deokhoon Jun

Deokhoon Jun has been PhD candidate since 2013 at Physiotherapy UQ. Prior to this course, he was a Korean Physiotherapist and Master student in Daegu University. He has now finished his PhD degree and working as a Research office at CFAHR for the project of Queensland workers’ Health, Disability and Worker’s compensation.





Nafiseh Khalaj

Nafiseh Khalaj has bachelor of physiotherapy from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and MSc in sport sciences. Currently, she is a PhD student in physiotherapy. She worked as a clinical physiotherapist for three years in private practice, and as a researcher for over seven years. Her main research interests lie in the fields of lower limb sport injuries and osteoarthritis.




Victoria Jones

Victoria Jones (nee Denny) graduated with a Masters of Speech Pathology Studies from the University of Queensland in 2008. Following graduation, Victoria commenced work as a clinician treating Adults in both Acute and Rehabilitation settings. Through her work as a clinician, Victoria has developed a keen interest in Aphasia and complex langue disorders. This interest led her to pursue a Research Higher Degree in 2016 investigating the impact of emerging medical treatments for acute ischaemic stroke on Aphasia. Her research through the Princess Alexandria hospital is investigating latent impacts on Aphasia following thrombolysis or mechanical clot removal to ascertain potential gaps in current treatment plans in Speech Pathology.


Nathalia Costa

Nathalia graduated in Physiotherapy with Honors Class 1 in December 2011. During her first two years working as a Physiotherapist in Brazil, she had experience working in multidisciplinary teams on clinical practice and also providing homecare to private patients. After gaining experience in her field, Nathalia moved to Australia in 2014. Since 2014 she has been working as a movement therapist (Pilates and Corealign Instructor), which led her to work in three Physiotherapy clinics in Brisbane. In addition to this, she acquired experience as a research technician at The University of Queensland prior to the commencement of her PhD journey. Nathalia’s PhD research plan aims to better understand the nature of low back pain (LBP) flares. She is particularly interested in identifying what constitutes a flare, its risk factors and how LBP flares are related to movement and other biopsychosocial features.


The Twitter helpdesk at the Postgrad Conference will be run by the HABS Media team and is designed to give students and staff the opportunity to seek individual assistance and get some hands-on help in setting up a Twitter account or  tips on how to tweet effectively.  Please bring along your laptop or smartphone. 

There will also be a Twitter info and Q&A session on 2-2:30pm on Thursday 7th Dec in room 624. The HABS Media team will provide us with information on why you should use Twitter and a tips and tricks handout.  Please bring along your laptop or smartphone.

'Tips and tricks: promoting your research online' by Altmetric

'Tips for scientists using social media' by Australian Science Media Centre

'You and the media: some general advice' by Australian Science Media Centre

An audience guide by The Conversation

Program and Dates

Date: Wednesday, 22 November

Time: 8.30am - 4.30pm 

Venue: Physiology lecture theatres (Building 63)

Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided. 

Click here to download the program.




















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