The role of the Self-Assessment Team (SAT) is to coordinate the process of data gathering, analysis and action planning that forms the basis of the application for an Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award. The SAT consists of representatives from across UQ's STEMM disciplines with representation of different roles, career stages, work arrangements and experience. The SAT aims to reflect the diversity of our staff, and represents a gender balance of 41 per cent. 

Project members

Professor Robyn Ward AM, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Vice President (Research) is the UQ institutional contact  for the SAGE Pilot Program and Chair of the UQ Self-Assessment Team

Professor Robyn Ward is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Queensland, and Vice-President (Research) at the University of Queensland and Acting Executive Dean of Medicine at the University of Queensland.  With over 20 years’ experience in lab-based, clinical and health services research in cancer. She has a significant record of achievement in translational and clinical cancer research, with over 200 peer-reviewed publications. Her achievements have been recognised by a Commonwealth Health Minister's Award (Excellence in Health and Medical Research, 2004), and the NSW Premier’s Award (Outstanding Cancer Research, 2007). In 2013 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medical research.

Professor Bruce Abernethy, Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Bruce Abernethy headshotProfessor Bruce Abernethy is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at UQ. In this position, which he has filled since the establishment of the Faculty in 2014, he is responsible for the academic and administrative leadership of the faculty, its six schools and four research centres, and ensuring the Faculty contributes effectively to the strategic mission and goals of the university. Bruce is a first class Honours graduate and university medallist from the University of Queensland, a PhD graduate from the University of Otago, an International Fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, a Fellow of the Australian Sports Medicine Federation and a Fellow of Exercise and Sport Science Australia. Prior to his current appointment he was Deputy Executive Dean and Associate Dean (Research) within the Faculty of Health Sciences (from mid-2011 to 2013), Head of the School of Human Movement Studies (from 1991-2003) and from 2004 to mid-2011 was the Director and inaugural Chair Professor of the Institute of Human Performance at the University of Hong Kong.

Professor Melissa Brown, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science

Melissa Brown headshotMelissa Brown is a Professor of Molecular Biology and the first female Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at The University of Queensland. She completed her PhD at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and has held positions at Cancer Research UK, King’s College London, and The University of Melbourne. She has taught molecular biology to more than 10,000 students and published more than 90 papers on the normal and abnormal regulation of gene expression with a focus on breast cancer susceptibility genes. She has held several academic leadership positions including Deputy Director (Research) at the UQ Diamantina Institute, Deputy Head and Head of the UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, and Deputy Executive Dean and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Medicine, as well as her current role as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science. Melissa is passionate about gender equity and enabling the careers of women and has successfully mentored numerous female research higher degree and academic staff to be successful in attracting research grants and fellowships and in securing positions at high profile national and international research and academic institutions.

Professor Aidan Byrne, Provost

Aidan Byrne headshotProfessor Aidan Byrne was recently appointed Provost at the University of Queensland. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council from 2012 to 2016. He has a wealth of knowledge within the university and research sectors.Professor Byrne completed a BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Auckland before commencing a PhD degree at the Australian National University in 1981. Following the completion of his PhD in Nuclear Physics he held a position with the University of Melbourne and spent over two years at the University of Bonn, Germany as a von Humboldt fellow before returning to the ANU in 1989. He was Head of the Department of Physics at  the ANU from 2003 to 2007 and the Dean of Science and the Director of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences from 2008 to 2012. He has published over 200 papers predominantly in the areas of the structure of heavy nuclei and the atomic structure of materials. He has presented many talks across a broad range of topics including future energy solutions, education and research.

Dr Alienor Chauvenet

Alienor Chauvenet headshotDr Alienor Chauvenet completed her PhD as a joint student of Imperial College London and the Institute of Zoology (ZSL) late 2012. During this time she worked on improving the practice of species translocations as a conservation and potential climate change adaptation tool using a breadth of approaches from survival analysis, through predictive population modelling to species distribution modelling. She then moved on to an Ecological Modeller position in the National Wildlife Management Team, which is part of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, in the UK. Alienor started her current position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UQ in October 2014. While she is continuing to pursue her interests developed so far, her role at UQ is to tackle big questions in conservation, starting by how we should design Protected Areas for optimal results for species and habitat protection.

Professor Fred D'Agostino, President, Academic Board

Fred D'Agostino headshotFred D’Agostino is President of the Academic Board and Professor of Humanities. He has been Executive Dean of Arts and Associate Dean of Arts (Academic). As Board President, he has chaired the Central Confirmation and Promotions Committee, which makes policy on academic staff HR issues. He serves on the Council of Women’s College and is a UQ Senator. A strong supporter of UQ’s Young Achievers Program, he is interested in the diversification of our undergraduate student cohort and in making opportunities to study at UQ available to all the students who might benefit from it. In various roles he has sat on hundreds of selection committees and as Executive Dean chaired the Arts Local Confirmation and Promotions Committee. He is working on “the disciplines” – how they work to support the growth of knowledge. This is an off-shoot of his work in scientific method and in political philosophy. He edited the Australian Journal of Philosophy, the journal PPE: Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and the Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. His best-known work is Free Public Reason (OUP, 1996).

Associate Professor Mary Fletcher

Mary Fletcher headshotAssociate Professor Mary Fletcher graduated from the University of Queensland with a BSc (Hons1) in 1981 and a PhD in Chemistry in 1986, and worked with Queensland Department of Primary Industries (Biosecurity Queensland) before joining the Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation (QAAFI), in 2010. A/Prof Fletcher leads the Natural Toxin group within QAAFI, and has a passion for the application of her chemical science in the agricultural space, achieving real and tangible industry impact. A/Prof Fletcher is based at the Health and Food Sciences Precinct (Coopers Plains), and her current work focuses on the identification and analysis of natural toxins in a range of plants, fungi and agricultural products, and their risks to production, food safety and market access. A/Prof Fletcher is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and in 2016 was elected President of the Queensland Branch of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (

Dr Dee Gibbon, Associate Director, Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

Dee Gibbon headshotDr Deanne (Dee) Gibbon CSC is the Associate Director of Workplace Diversity and Inclusion at UQ. She holds a PhD from the University of New South Wales. Her doctoral research focused on finding practical, evidence-based ways of increasing women’s representation in non-tradition occupations.  Before leaving her career in the full-time Air Force, Deanne deployed to Afghanistan as NATO’s Senior Gender Advisor to the Resolute Support Mission, where she assisted the Afghan Ministers of Interior and Defence to increase women’s representation in their National Army and Police Force. Deanne also served as the Head of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SEMPRO) and the Project Director for the ADF’s Review into the Treatment of Women.  Deanne was a founding member of the Australian Chief of Defence Force’s Gender Equity Advisory Board (GEAB).  Her efforts to progress diversity outcomes in the ADF resulted in her winning the 2013 diversity category of the Westpac and Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence awards and receiving a Conspicuous Service Cross in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Emma Livingstone, PhD Student

Emma Livingstone headshotEmma completed her BSc in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) in 2012 where she was a recipient of the University of Canterbury Dux Scholarship. Following a summer research project with Colin Jackson at the Australian National University she returned to Canterbury to complete an MSc(Hons) in Chemistry under the supervision of Emily Parker where she was awarded the Cuth J Wilkins prize in Chemistry. She worked as a Chemistry teacher in the Bridging Programme at the University of Canterbury before starting her PhD in Structural Biology at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience under the supervision of Brett Collins and Jenny Martin. Emma is the recipient of a UQ research scholarship, an IMB research advancement award, and an Australian Institute for Nuclear Science and Engineering postgraduate research award.

Associate Professor Linda Lua

Linda Lua head shotLinda Lua is the Director of UQ Protein Expression Facility and Associate Professor of Biotechnology. She leads a team of research specialists, producing high-quality synthetic proteins to enable and accelerate research. Internationally recognised for her research-enabling technologies to produce products that range from simple biomolecules to complex biomolecular assemblies such as multi-protein virus-like particles, she has assisted with establishing other protein facilities. To improve vaccine accessibility in resource-poor nations, Linda researches vaccine technology to address vaccine manufacturing challenges, which translated into patented platform technology. Linda has initiated and led significant industry engagements, nationally and internationally. Her project management portfolio includes projects across 16 Australian Universities as well as public and private research institutes. Linda is passionate about career development and progression of research professionals and academics, and has supported many in developing career plans. She chairs the Gender Equity Commission at AIBN.

Associate Professor Margaret Mayfield

Margaret Mayfield headshotMargaret Mayfield is an Associate Professor in plant ecology and Director of the Ecology Centre at UQ. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Biology (Hons) at Reed College (USA) in 1998 followed by a year researching the ethnoecology of crop pollination in Bolivia, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia and India as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.  She earned her PhD in biology from Stanford University in 2005 and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara before accepted a T&R position in plant ecology at UQ in 2007.  Margie is a quantitative field ecologist whose research focuses on improving our understanding of biological diversity and how it is impacted by environmental change. Margie is best known for her research on crop pollination as an ecosystem service and the importance of plant functional traits for inferring ecological mechanisms of community assembly. She brings to the SAT team 20 years of experience collecting and statistically analyzing large observational datasets.  Margie currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship and is an ISI highly cited researcher.

Professor Alastair McEwan, Dean of the Graduate School

Alastair McEwan headshotProfessor Alastair McEwan is Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Queensland. Professor McEwan is a graduate of the University of Leeds and obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham. He held a Science and Engineering Research Council NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford before moving to a lectureship at the University of East Anglia. In 1993 Professor McEwan joined the University of Queensland as a Senior Lecturer. He was promoted to Professor in 2003 and was Head of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences from 2005-2010. His research spans bacterial physiology and pathogenesis, redox biology and the role of transition metal ions in host-pathogen interactions, and is currently funded by NHMRC Project grants. Professor McEwan is currently the Chair of the Go8 Deans of Graduate Research and a member of the NHMRC Research Fellowships Peer Review Panel.

Professor Neville Plint, Director, Sustainable Minerals Institute

Neville Plint headshotProfessor Neville Plint is the Director of the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia. Professor Plint holds a PhD, MBA (distinction) from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and brings extensive leadership experience and a deep understanding of the mining sector having worked for 20 years with Anglo American in South Africa. Professor Plint’s extensive background focused on delivering improved operational performance on mining sites by developing and implementing new technologies, whilst establishing a global network of research professionals in academic institutes, mining companies and research organisations.

Dr Joseph Powell

Joseph Powell headshotDr. Powell is the head of the Single Cell and Computational Genomics laboratory at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience. The Single Cell and Computational Genomics Group uses large-scale, high-throughput genomic data to investigate how DNA sequence variants contribute to human disease. This research engages both sophisticated statistical methodology and high-performance computing resources for novel analyses and methods development. Our group is committed to reproducible research practices, and where possible makes all code open-source and data publically available. Dr. Powell’s research has recently focused on the use of single-cell genomics to identify and understand the mechanisms by which common disease variation acts at a cellular level. This builds upon previous and ongoing work on the relationship between Genome Wide Association Studies variants and expression Quantitative Trait Loci, and the difference in genetic control of transcription between different cell types and tissues. Single-cell sequencing enables cellular heterogeneity in transcription to be identified, which has been one of the major limitations around our ability to understand the cellular processes by which loci contribute to common disease. 

Professor Carlo Prato

Carlo Prato headshotPrior to joining UQ’s School of Civil Engineering as a Professor in Transport, Professor Prato worked at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and the Technical University of Denmark before joining UQ at the beginning of 2016. His PhD from Politecnico di Torino in Italy focused on route choice behaviour of car drivers. It is his natural curiosity and his passion for behavioural modelling that drives his research into understanding what makes people behave the way they do as pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users, and car drivers. His research also looks at how people value congestion and reliability of transport systems, react to legislation trying to make their journeys safer, and adapt to novel technologies. Professor Prato contributes to the advancement of science in this cross-disciplinary environment by presenting and publishing contributions in prestigious conferences and journals as well as serving as a reviewer and editorial board member of journals spanning from engineering to psychology and medicine.  

Dr Jacqui Romero

Jacqui Romero HeadshotJacqui is an experimental quantum physicist. She completed her bachelor's and master’s degrees in the University of the Philippines, doing research on shaping light for applications like microscopy and microfabrication.  She moved to Scotland in 2008 to pursue a PhD in the University of Glasgow. Her research established optical orbital angular momentum as an accessible property for studying entanglement. She moved to Australia in 2015 to work on an interdisciplinary project between physics and philosophy. She was recently awarded a Discovery Early Career Research fellowship by the ARC. She is interested in revealing strange phenomena afforded by high-dimensional entanglement in light and developing quantum communication and computation technology. Jacqui has three young children, the first of whom was born a year after she commenced PhD studies. She has written about her experience as a mother and a PhD student in the journal Science. She has been a STEM ambassador in Scotland, and a resource person for the Institute of Physics for encouraging young girls to pursue physics degrees. She continues her outreach work through the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.  

Associate Professor Ethan Scott

Ethan Scott headshotAssociate Professor Ethan Scott received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he studied molecular genetics. After this, he moved to Stanford University, where he completed his Ph.D. in neuroscience. This work was based around developing genetic approaches for studying nervous system structure and function, focusing on the visual system. As a postdoc at the University of California – San Francisco, he adapted these techniques to the small vertebrate model system of zebrafish. His lab at the University of Queensland extends this work, using advanced microscopy and optogenetics to study sensory circuits and the ways in which the brain integrates information across different senses. The resulting work has been published in journals including Science, Nature, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, and Nature Methods. Beyond research, Ethan teaches into courses on genetics and neuroscience, and he developed his school’s capstone course, an open-ended guided research experience aimed at teaching 3rd year undergraduates fundamental research skills including experimental design, statistical rigor, and critical thinking.  Ethan’s service includes chairing the Equity and Diversity Committee within the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Professor Cindy Shannon, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement)

Professor Cindy Shannon head shotProfessor Cindy Shannon is a descendent of the Ngugi people from Moreton Island. In 2011 she was appointed as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) at The University of Queensland. She was previously the Director of the Centre for Indigenous Health at The University of Queensland and guided the development and implementation of Australia’s first degree level program that specifically targeted Aboriginal health workers. Cindy also has an ongoing affiliation with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in South East Queensland, having played a key role in its establishment. Cindy has played a key role nationally in Indigenous health policy development and implementation and has undertaken a number of independent primary health care service reviews, including a major report for the 2003 interdepartmental review of primary health care service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Dr Heather Smyth

Heather Smyth headshotDr Heather Smyth is a flavour chemist and sensory scientist who has been studying premium food and beverage products for more than ten years.  Heather completed her PhD in wine flavour chemistry in 2005 at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, and commenced a postdoctoral fellowship with the Australian Wine Research Institute. After moving to Queensland Dr Smyth worked the Qld Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries before joining the University of Queensland in 2010 as part of the newly established Qld Alliance of Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) institute. Heathers research focusses on understanding consumer enjoyment of foods and beverages in terms of both sensory properties and chemical/physical composition.  Current projects involve specialty coffee, beer, wine, native plant foods, cocoa, meat and seafood, tropical fruit, cereals, dairy products and some processed products. Heather collaborates with a number of food companies and research groups to discover and describe what consumers enjoy about food, which aids in the design and production of superior products with increased consumer value.

Professor Ala Tabor

Ala Tabor headshotProfessor Ala Tabor joined QAAFI's Centre for Animal Science in October 2010, after 18 years of conducting research with the Queensland Government. She is a research focussed academic with a strong background in industry engagement associated with animal health. Some key outputs of her work include the application of reverse vaccinology for the development of a novel cattle tick vaccine with patents pending and the commercialization/adoption of diagnostic tools for bovine diseases. Prof Tabor has attained $5.7 million in competitive grants in the last 10 years including the ARC, pharma and industry. Her international recognition in her field is exemplified by the invitation to join the BMGF International Cattle Tick Vaccine Consortium (CATVAC, est. 2015), specialist tick editor for the International Journal for Parasitology, and the Chair of the organising committee for the 9th International Tick and Tick-borne Pathogen (TTP9) conference to be held for the first time in Australia in 2017. Her research vision is to translate her research outcomes into viable products and methods for the benefit of cattle producers and pet owners.

Patrick Testa, Faculty Executive Manager, Faculty of Science

Patrick Testa headshotMr Patrick Testa currently leads the administrative, professional and corporate services within the Faculty of Science at the University of Queensland (UQ). He is accountable to the Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and the Chief Operating Officer, University of Queensland for devolved operations, including: strategic and operational planning; facilities, financial, human and ICT management; academic and student administration; alumni, engagement, marketing, recruitment and international; research support and research stations. The post provides leadership for over 600 professional and technical staff who deliver services to close to 10,000 students and an academic community of over 700 who are focussed on teaching and/or research. Additionally, the post oversees a budget of AUD$340m in support of teaching, learning, research and service delivery. Mr Testa's previous experience in higher education includes: senior management, major project management, sales, marketing, business development and internationalisation roles at La Trobe Univeristy, Navitas, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne. Prior to entering higher education Mr Testa worked in a number of sectors including: drug and alcohol (YSAS); the law for various firms (including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia) and ran his own business.

Dr Celia Webby, Deputy Director (Operations)

Celia Webby headshotDr Celia Webby is the Deputy Director (Operations) at the Centre for Advanced Imaging. Dr Webby commenced her career in research, completing a PhD in Biological Chemistry at Massey University in New Zealand, as well holding a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford and at AIBN.  She also holds an MBA from UQ. 

Throughout her career, Dr Webby has worked to address gender equity in male-dominated fields and has mentored several early-career women. She previously held the position of Director (Secretary) of Women in Technology, which is a peak body for women in technology in Queensland, and currently sits on the Board of Cherish Women’s Cancer Foundation.