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Campus News : October 2012
OCTOBER 2012 CONNECT :UOW 9 CONNECT: RESEARCH UOW'S LATEST FUTURE FELLOWS Four University of Wollongong researchers have been awarded a total of $3.095 million in the latest round of Australian Research Council Future Fellowships announced by Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research Senator Chris Evans. Senator Evans announced 209 Future Fellowships and a total of $151 million in funding for projects across Australia. The Minister said the Fellowships were designed to help the best and brightest mid-career researchers solve problems and make discoveries to improve the lives of all Australians. The UOW researchers and their projects are: Dr Julia Martinez (Faculty of Arts): This project will offer a critical analysis of historical narratives on the traffic of women within Asia Pacific networks between 1865 and 1940, informed by race and gender studies and parallels with today's human trafficking debates. Grant for 2012-2016 - $575,581. Professor Sandra Jones (Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences): This project aims to reduce the frequency and amount of alcohol consumption, and alcohol-related harms, among young people aged 12-17 years by addressing social norms regarding underage alcohol consumption. It will engage the Illawarra community in strategies to encourage and empower young people not to drink. Grant for 2012-2016 - $931,010. Associate Professor Louise D'Arcens: (Faculty of Arts): This project will study comic depictions of the Middle Ages, examining how they reflect views about the past and the present. It will produce new knowledge about how this historical humour intersects with, and contributes to, ongoing debates about progress, social changes and cultural tolerance, which are vital to Australian public life. Grant for 2012-2016 - $661,051. Professor Zheng Jiang (Faculty of Engineering): This project will focus on the establishment of high precision rolling technology for manufacturing microparts in Australia by using a unique profile and flexible rolling method. A successful outcome will provide an important breakthrough in the microrolling area and new knowledge for advanced micromanufacturing technology and its applications. Grant for 2012-2016 - $928,218. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Judy Raper said: "Future Fellowships are highly regarded and much sought-after, and I congratulate our four recipients. Their projects are all extremely worthwhile and will make a valuable contribution to the nation." NH Humans may have practised dentistry up to 6500 years ago, new research has revealed. Researchers, including a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong, may have uncovered new evidence of ancient dentistry in the form of a 6500-year-old human jaw bone with a tooth showing traces of a beeswax filling. Evidence of prehistoric dentistry is sparse so this new specimen, found in Slovenia near Trieste, may help provide insight into early dental practices. The finding is being reported in the latest open access online journal PLoS ONE. One of the researchers is Professor Claudio Tuniz, a Visiting Professorial Fellow with UOW's Centre for Archaeological Science. The team involved in the discovery was led by Dr Federico Bernardini and Professor Tuniz, who is based at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy. Their research was undertaken in co-operation with Sincrotrone Trieste and other institutions including the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) which helped in the dating of the find. The researchers describe the finding as perhaps the most ancient evidence of pre-historic dentistry in Europe and the earliest known direct example of therapeutic-palliative dental filling so far. BG STONE AGE DENTISTRY A microphotograph of the tooth crown in occlusal view with the surface covered by beeswax indicated within the yellow dotted line. Before TV shows like CSI and Silent Witness made the world of forensics so popular, facial anthropologists like Dr Susan Hayes had been putting a face to the bones for years -- and in real life it's more about evidence than intuition. Dr Hayes, a new Honorary Senior Research Fellow at UOW's Centre for Archaeological Science (CAS), says TV shows like CSI don't show the extensive research and measurements that go into facial approximation. She recently joked in an ABC radio interview that she lacks the intuition depicted in television forensic artists. "So you're looking at the skull, is the person staring back at you? You're getting the vibe, who is this person? Why did they die? How did they die?" "What tends not to get shown on TV, I guess because it's boring, is all of the measurements, the research that could actually support an approximation of a person's face. It's a lot more tedious than you usually get on TV," she explained. Dr Hayes is working with Professor Mike Morwood and colleagues at CAS to put a face to Homo floresiensis (nicknamed the Hobbit), a previously unknown species of tiny hominin that survived on the Indonesian island of Flores until just 18,000 years ago. Professor Morwood and Indonesian collaborators discovered Homo floresiensis in 2003 and the news made headlines around the world when it was revealed in 2004. "She has been given a few different faces over the years, so it is going to be interesting to see the results of my methods," says Dr Hayes, who bases her approach on one developed by the Russian anatomist Mikhail Gerasimov (featured in the film Gorky Park). "This approach includes building up the underlying anatomy (muscles, glands, features) as well as using soft tissue depths. Once I have examined and measured an individual's remains, I take orthogonal photographs and enter the images into a graphics program, where I build up a virtual anatomy within the parameters indicated by the skull." Dr Hayes has a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University, a Bachelor of Humanities from Murdoch University and a PhD in Anatomy from the University of Western Australia. "Facial approximation is astonishingly inter- disciplinary, crossing not just the arts/science divide, but also involving many associated fields within each, such as face perception, anthropology, history and medico-dental studies. In many ways, it would be easier to list the areas that do not have something to say in what I do," she said. EP ANTHROPOLOGIST'S SKILL PUTS FACES TO SKULLS Facial Anthropologist Dr Susan Hayes (right) with School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Curator Penny Williamson.
CONNECT:UOW July 2012