Kirby Institute celebrates our recent PhD graduates

News | Published on 25 Mar 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic once again saw graduation ceremonies cancelled in 2021, but despite the challenges of studying and working during the pandemic, the Kirby Institute was proud to celebrate the completion of 13 of our PhD students’ studies.

Graduation ceremonies resumed this week at the John Clancy Auditorium at UNSW Sydney, and some of our graduates who had their PhDs conferred during 2020/21 were joined by their supervisors at the Medicine and Health ceremony on Monday. Attending the cermeony was Mohamed Hammoud, Adam Craig, Vera Klemm, Manisha Yapa, Thilini Padeniya, Vennila Mathivanan, Katherine Ognenovska, and Nabila Chowdhury.

“Completing a PhD is an enormous undertaking, and doing so over the past two years has been an exceptional feat,” says Kirby Institute Director, Professor Anthony Kelleher. “The 13 individuals who had their PhDs accepted since the last graduations in May 2021 should be exceptionally proud of themselves. I wish them every success in their future career endeavours.”

The Kirby Institute congratulates the following graduates and their supervisors, whose PhDs have been conferred since the last ceremony, held in May 2021:

Nabila Chowdhury The relationship between psychosis and offending behaviour in New South Wales - A data-linkage study
Supervisors: Handan Wand (primary), Tony Butler (joint), Armita Adily (secondary)

Valentina Costantino Optimising public health decision-making and interventions for infectious disease control
Supervisors: Raina MacIntyre (primary), Richard Gray (secondary)

Nila Dharan Ageing and Comorbidities in People with HIV
Supervisors: Gail Matthews (primary), Kathy Petoumenos (secondary), Mark Polizzotto (secondary)

Brigitte Gerstl Reproductive Outcomes Following A Cancer Diagnosis In Female Cancer Survivors
Supervisors: Handan Wand (primary), Antoinette Anazodo (joint), Angela Ives (secondary), Elizabeth Sullivan (secondary), Zhuoyang Li (secondary)

Phillip Keen Improving the timely diagnosis of HIV among gay and other men who have sex with men
Supervisors: Garrett Prestage (primary), Rebecca Guy (joint)

Laila Khawar New methods to track progress toward elimination of sexually transmissible infections and blood-borne viruses in Australia
Supervisors: Rebecca Guy (primary), Skye McGregor (joint), Basil Donovan (secondary)

Vennila Mathivanan Lentiviral System for Gene Delivery into Resting T-cells
Supervisors: Stuart Turville (primary), Anupriya Aggarwal (secondary)

Katherine Ognenovska Elucidating the Mechanisms of RNA-Induced Transcriptional Silencing Machinery in a HIV-1 Therapeutic
Supervisors: Chantelle Ahlenstiel (primary), Anthony Kelleher (joint)

Thilini Padeniya Mathematical modelling to explore the role of the female-sex-worker-client interaction for gonorrhoea transmission and prevention among Australian heterosexuals
Supervisors: David Regan (primary), James Wood (joint), Ben Hui (secondary)

Heather Valerio Elimination of hepatitis C virus among people who inject drugs in Australia
Supervisors: Gregory Dore (joint), Jason Grebely (joint), Maryam Alavi (secondary)

Cassandra Vujovich-Dunn Identifying and Addressing Gaps in the Australian School-Based HPV Vaccination Program
Supervisors: Rebecca Guy (primary), Handan Wand (secondary), John Kaldor (secondary), Susan Skinner (secondary)

Techalew Woldkiros Acute febrile illness in children in southern Ethiopia: diagnosis, management, outcomes, and health care seeking behaviour
Supervisors: John Kaldor (primary), Susana Vaz Nery (joint), Gillian Schierhout (secondary), Birkneh Tadesse (secondary)

Yanran Zhao Phenotypic, functional characterisation and transcriptomatic analysis of CD8+ T memory stem cell and its role in HCV re-infection
Supervisors: Andrew Lloyd (primary), Hongyan An (joint), Rowena Bull (secondary), Fabio Luciani (secondary)