HEAL 2021 Conference Website

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Organising Committee

Australian Capital Territory

Professor Sotiris Vardoulakis (Organising Committee Chair), Australian National University

Sotiris Vardoulakis is a Professor of Global Environmental Health at the Australian National University, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, where he leads the Environment, Climate, and Health Research Group. He is the Director of the Healthy Environments And Lives (HEAL) network, and co-leads the International Consortium for Urban Environmental Health and Sustainability (Healthy-Polis), and the Clean Environment and Planetary Health in Asia (CEPHA) network. Previously he was Director of Research at the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh, and Head of the Environmental Change Department at Public Health England. His work focuses on sustainable solutions to protect human health from climate change, air pollution, temperature extremes, and other environmental and occupational hazards.

Daniela Espinoza Oyarce, Australian National University

Daniela Espinoza Oyarce is a researcher at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing. She was awarded a Master of Neuroscience at The Australian National University with a multidisciplinary thesis in neuroscience and immunology.

Professor Iain Walker, Australian National University

Iain Walker is the Director of the Research School of Psychology at the Australian National University, and has served in similar roles at the University of Canberra, Murdoch University, and the CSIRO. Over the years, Iain’s research has delved into many different things, but a consistent theme joining all those things is a concern with social and environmental sustainability. He has co-authored Social Cognition (with Martha Augoustinos and Ngaire Donaghue), and co-edited Social Science and Sustainability (with Heinz Schandl), Social Representations (with Gail Moloney), and Relative Deprivation Theory (with Heather Smith), and about 150 chapters, reports, and journal articles.

Dr Ro McFarlane, University of Canberra

Dr Rosemary (Ro) McFarlane is an Assistant Professor in Public Health at the University of Canberra. She has significant experience and expertise at the interface between health, biodiversity, environmental sustainability and food production. Her unique perspectives derive in part from her initial training as a Veterinarian, and direct hands-on experience in primary production and natural and cultural resource management in marginal climatic and agronomic regions. Her research explores health linkages with biodiversity and in ecosystem service frameworks, zoonotic disease ecology, sustainable food systems and food system resilience.

New South Wales

Dr Kristen Pickles, University of Sydney

Dr Kristen Pickles is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Wiser Healthcare collaboration and Sydney Health Literacy Lab at The University of Sydney's School of Public Health. Her research focuses on understanding human and system-level complexities driving low value care and overdiagnosis. Kristen has training in public health and psychology and expertise in qualitative research methods. Her current projects involve co-designing behavioural interventions with clinicians and consumers that support more sustainable care delivery, with the end goal being to motivate a shift in clinical choices towards carbon neutral healthcare.

Dr Matilde Breth-Petersen, University of Sydney

Matilde Breth-Petersen (BHSc, MIPH, MPhil) is a research officer and associate lecturer at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health. She has been involved in a range of research projects and teaching relating to health and climate change, particularly on the topics of extreme heat and health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, and more recently on reducing the carbon footprint of healthcare with Wiser Healthcare.

Grace Lee, University of Sydney

Grace is a research assistant at the Sydney School of Public Health and the University Centre for Rural Health at the University of Sydney. She has a background in medical science and has recently completed her Master of Public Health at the University of Sydney. Her research interest is in environmental health and is currently undertaking research work in the areas of air pollution, climate and Aboriginal health with the environmental health research team at the University of Sydney

Professor Alexandra Barratt, University of Sydney

Alexandra Barratt is Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, a medical doctor, epidemiologist and health services researcher. She is leading Wiser Healthcare’s research to mitigate healthcare carbon footprint and move towards zero carbon healthcare (www.wiserhealthcare.org.au/wiser-carbon-neutral/). Major reductions in the carbon footprint of clinical care will be needed to achieve emissions targets but the evidence base to make these changes safely and effectively is lacking. Wiser Carbon Neutral research aims to fill this evidence gap. Alex has a longstanding interest in promoting science to the community and has won two Australian Museum Eureka prizes for medical reporting.

Associate Professor Ying Zhang, University of Sydney

Doctor Ying Zhang is Associate Professor at School of Public Health, University of Sydney. She is an epidemiologist and a dedicated researcher and educator on climate change and global health. Ying is the Co-Chair of the MJA-Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change for Australia, which produces annual reports to track progress on health and climate change in the country until 2030. Ying is the Convenor of the Sustainability, Climate and Health Collaboration. Ying is also keen on promoting research translation and policy advocacy to address health and climate change issues.

Dr Veronica Matthews, University Centre for Rural Health

Dr Veronica Matthews from the Quandamooka community is a Senior Research Fellow at the University Centre for Rural Health, The University of Sydney. Her work centres on improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander holistic health care systems (including environmental health) through quality improvement, systems-thinking and community-based participatory research. She co-leads the Centre for Research Excellence in Strengthening Systems for Indigenous Health Care Equity, a multi-jurisdictional network of service providers, policy-makers and researchers working to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and methodologies into inter-sectoral, quality improvement research to address social and emotional wellbeing and the determinants of health.

Associate Professor Geoff Morgan, University Centre for Rural Health

Associate Professor Morgan has a joint appointment with the Sydney School of Public Health and University Centre for Rural Health and has more than 25 years’ experience in epidemiological research, environmental health policy, and education. His research specialises in the use of state of the art biostatistical and geographical information techniques applied to routinely collected health data linked to socio-demographic and environmental risk factors. His current work includes epidemiological studies into health effects of smoke including bushfires and wood heaters; health effects of climate including extreme events such as heatwaves; and the relationship between the built environment and health.

Professor Philip Hansbro, University of Technology Sydney

Professor Hansbro is the Director of the Centre for Inflammation, Centenary Institute and University of Technology Sydney, conjoint Professor in the Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs at the Hunter Medical Research Institute and University of Newcastle, and an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. Professor Hansbro has established internationally recognised programs in infections, COPD, asthma, IPF, and lung cancer. His group has developed several novel mouse models of COPD, severe, steroid-insensitive asthma, early life infection and lung cancer to substantially further our understanding of pathogenesis and to develop novel therapies. He performs complimentary collaborative clinical and multi-disciplinary studies and collaborates widely.

Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng, University of New South Wales

Doctor Xiaoqi Feng is the Associate Professor in Urban Health and Environment in the School of Population Health, University of New South Wales, Australia and Founding Co-Director of PowerLab (www.powerlab.site). She has authored >160 publications, led major research projects and successfully translated her research into policy and practice. Xiao has won multiple research awards (e.g., Parks and Leisure Australia National Research Award). Xiao’s research has informed council urban greening strategies (e.g., Greening Sydney Strategy). Internationally, she is an elected council member and education committee chair for the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Asia-Western Pacific Chapter (ISEE AWPC).

Dr Thava Palanisami, Newcastle University

Dr Palanisami is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Engineering at the University of Newcastle with a PhD on the risk assessment and remediation of mixed contaminants. His research changed the decades-long assumption that chemicals in contaminated sites occur as single contaminants and demonstrated that they occur as mixtures instead, with chemical mixtures of PAHs and metals having higher toxicity and more bioavailability. Dr Palanisami and colleagues have led the first field level implementation of a Risk-Based Land Management approach to managing contaminated sites in Australia, which has significant implications for paradigm change in risk assessment and management.


Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen, Queensland University of Technology

Kerrie Mengersen is a Distinguished Professor in Statistics at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. She is the Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Mathematical Frontiers and the Director of the QUT Centre for Data Science. Kerrie is also an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and a member of the Statistical Society of Australia and the IMS, ASA, RSS, ISBA and ISI. Her research focuses on Bayesian models and computational methods, and their application to challenging problems in health, the environment and industry.

Dr Aiden Price, Queensland University of Technology

Aiden is a research associate in the Centre for Data Science, working as a project manager on the AusEnHealthProject: a national environmental health strategic planning digital twin. Aiden’s research is currently focused on spatial and temporal analyses of environmental and population health data, identifying the impact of bushfires on human health, and conservation-focused work through the lens of aesthetics in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Professor Cordia Chu, Griffith University

Professor Cordia Chu AM, Director, Centre for Environment and Population Health, Griffith University, has a background in medical anthropology and sociology with expertise in ecological public health, reproductive health, risk communication and community participation, health-promotion, and integrated health planning. An international consultant actively facilitating the development of healthy cities, hospitals and workplaces in many Asia-Pacific countries, her recent focus has been on building a research consortium for global health security, One Health, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sustainable development. She has graduated 48PHDs, published over 220 articles and book chapters, and presented over 80 conference keynote addresses.

Associate Professor Nicholas Osborne, University of Queensland

Professor Osborne is an epidemiologist and toxicologist with research interests in using environmental epidemiology to examine aetiology and pathological pathways of disease. His current research includes using eDNA as a novel measure of exposure to pollen and biodiversity in the landscape and linkages to health outcomes including atopic disease. Professor Osborne has been Chief Investigator on grants from a range of funding bodies in the UK and US, and continues to collaborate on a range of projects with colleagues including DNA barcoding grass pollen and hospital admissions, effect of pollen and traffic pollution, and solar irradiance and bone health.


Professor Rebecca Bentley, University of Melbourne

Rebecca Bentley is a Professorial Research Fellow in Social Epidemiology, Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Healthy Housing and the leader of the Healthy Housing Research Unit in the Centre for Health Policy, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Over the past 15 years, Rebecca has developed a research program exploring the role of housing and residential location in shaping health and wellbeing in Australia. This research has a particular focus on housing affordability, tenure and their measurable effects on individual health and wellbeing.

Jaithri Ananthapavan, Deakin University

Jaithri Ananthapavan is a senior research fellow and health economist who leads the Economics of Obesity stream within Deakin Health Economics and the Global Obesity Centre at Deakin University. Her research interest is the economic evaluation of preventive health interventions and methods development to better assist decision-makers use economic evidence in resource allocation decisions. Jaithri leads a body of work with the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre developing frameworks for using cost-benefit analysis methods to better capture the inter-sectoral impacts of preventive health initiatives.

Dr Nigel Goodman, RMIT

Dr Nigel Goodman is a Vice-Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow. His research aims to create healthier indoor environments. Nigel is currently investigating the types and concentrations of air pollutants within locations such as green buildings, high-rise apartments, and prefabricated structures. He is also evaluating strategies and technologies to improve indoor air quality. Nigel completed his PhD in Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne in 2019.

Western Australia

Dr Brad Farrant, Telethon Kids Institute

Brad is a Senior Research Fellow and Co-Head of the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing team at Telethon Kids Institute. Brad’s research focuses on the importance of early childhood development and how to connect this to strengths of Aboriginal people and culture. He also has a strong interest in how climate change and other ecological factors interact to affect children’s development now and into the future.

Associate Professor Alexander Larcombe, Telethon Kids Institute

A/Prof Larcombe is Head of the Respiratory Environmental Health Team at the Telethon Kids Institute. His research focusses on increasing our understanding of how environmental factors impact lung growth, development, and function. In recent years, his work has primarily focussed on electronic cigarettes, biodiesel exhaust and the effects of climate change on respiratory health.

Professor Peter Le Souef, University of Western Australia

Peter Le Souef is a Professor of Paediatrics at the Medical School of the University of Western Australia. Over the last 30 years, he has led many successful respiratory and infectious disease research studies including those using the Mechanisms of Viral Respiratory Infection in Children platform, currently investigating immunological responses to acute respiratory viral infections, and the Perth Infant Asthma Follow-up Birth Cohort study. Professor Le Souef has worked in collaboration with researchers from every continent over the last 25 years on child health, a work that has taken him to the Amazonas Region, Greenland, Siberia, Finland, and Russia.

Dr Caitlin Wyrwoll, University of Western Australia

Dr Caitlin Wyrwoll is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Human Sciences at the University of Western Australia (UWA). She completed her PhD at UWA before moving to Edinburgh for a postdoctoral position at Queen’s Medical Research Institute with Professors Megan Holmes and Jonathan Seckl. She then returned to UWA to commence her own research group. Dr Wyrwoll’s research uses preclinical and human data to assess how early life environment, including climate change, impacts reproductive health. This includes a focus on maternal health, pregnancy progression, and the implications for child and future adult health.

Professor Nanthi Bolan, University of Western Australia

Nanthi is Professor of Soil Science at the University of Western Australia with research interests including soil health, contamination and remediation, and greenhouse gas emission. Professor Bolan is a Fellow of American Soil Science Society, American Society of Agronomy and New Zealand Soil Science Society and was awarded the Communicator of the Year award by the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural Sciences and the Massey University Research Medal for excellence in postgraduate students’ supervision. He has published more than 450 book chapters and journal papers and is one of Web of Science Highly cited researchers for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Associate Professor Richard Norman, Curtin University

Richard is a Health Economist, based at Curtin University’s School of Population Health. He has ongoing interests in economic evaluation, quality of life, longitudinal data analysis, and measuring community attitudes towards different policy options. His work has been widely disseminated through both academic and non-academic pathways. He serves on the Economics Sub-Committee of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. He is a former NHMRC Early Career Fellow, and is a recent awardee of the Western Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award.

South Australia

Professor Craig Williams, University of South Australia

Craig Williams is UniSA Dean of Programs (Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences): Clinical and Health Sciences. Throughout his academic career of more than 20 years Craig has combined skills in education and communication with research studying the interface between environmental and public health. This academic work has been recognised through South Australian Young Scientist of the Year (2007), IgNobel Prize in Biology (2005, for science that makes you laugh, then think), and Commonwealth Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (2013) awards. Craig teaches undergraduate courses and conducts research on citizen science and public health.

Professor Corey Bradshaw, Flinders University

Professor Bradshaw is a Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology, the Director of the Global Ecology Laboratory, and Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage leading its Modelling Node at Flinders University. His research mainly focuses on global-change ecology —how human endeavour and climate fluctuations have altered past, present, and future ecosystems. Professor Bradshaw’s most important contributions have been in the area of applied ecology, biodiversity conservation, theoretical ecology, extinction dynamics, human demography, species responses to climate change, disease ecology, and applying ecological theory and modelling techniques to hindcast prehistoric ecosystems.

Associate Professor Carmel Williams, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Carmel Williams is Director of the Centre for HiAP Research Translation based in South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and Co-Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Advancing Health in All Policies. Carmel has overseen the establishment and sustainability of South Australia’s Health in All Policies approach and led numerous collaborative projects on the social and environmental determinants of health, drawing research, policy and practice together to deliver evidence informed public policy outcomes. Carmel has earned the honorary academic status of Associate Professor with the University of South Australian and the University of Adelaide.


Dr Emily Flies, University of Tasmania

Emily was raised in suburbs of upstate New York where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and psychology. After a few years of teaching outdoor education, she completed a master’s degree in disease ecology at Michigan State University and a PhD in disease ecology and epidemiology at the University of South Australia. Now, as lecturer at the University of Tasmania, Emily studies how urban environments can be detrimental to health and how (microbially) biodiverse urban green spaces can benefit health. Emily is co-founder of two not-for-profit science communication organisations, and co-leads the Healthy Landscapes Research Group at UTAS.

Northern Territory

Associate Professor Linda Ford, Charles Darwin University

Associate Professor Linda Payi Ford is a Senior Research Fellow at the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University in the College of Indigenous Futures, Education and Arts. She underpins her theoretical approach to projects with her Mirrwana and Wurrkama (2005) methodology to Indigenous research practice and theory across multiple disciplinary fields. Payi is a Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu Traditional Aboriginal Owner from Kurrindju. Ford’s Country is Kurrindju in the Finniss River and Reynold River regions southwest of Darwin. Ford balances her academic research career, teaching, and learning in higher education, family and caring for Country, threatened Aboriginal languages and culture.

Dr Supriya Mathew, Menzies School of Health Research

Supriya Mathew is a multi-disciplinary researcher, specialising in mixed methods research at the Menzies School of Health Research. Her doctoral research developed a climate adaptation decision-making framework for local governments in India and Australia, a MS Excel based decision-making tool used by local governments’ nationally and internationally to prioritize adaptation options for extreme weather events. Her overall research interest is to address the gap between climate sciences and adaptation decision-making in rural and remote Australia. She currently leads the ‘Air in Alice’ project that aims to crowdsource air quality and temperature data in Alice Springs to improve environmental health surveillance.