Meet our Guests

The Discovery Pod, Season 3.

Dr Rachel Burton

Professor Rachel Burton

Professor Rachel Burton is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide. She has been Chief Investigator on two Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence—Plant Cell Walls and Plant Energy Biology—and was named a Superstar of STEM by Science and Technology Australia in 2017. Rachel investigates plant-based sustainability solutions and believes Australia has the potential to boast a booming biofuel industry. Imagine: your house built from seed husks, your car manufactured using cannabis components, and your fuel extracted from the cactus we use to make tequila.

Listen to Professor Burton on Season 3, EP01: Growing our way out of the climate crisis.

Noune Melkounian

Dr Noune Melkoumian

Dr Noune Melkoumian is a senior lecturer in the University of Adelaide’s School ofCivil, Environmental and Mining Engineering. She specialises in swarm robotics, an advanced area within the biomimetics field. Noune has patented cutting-edge sensor technology designed to mitigating disasters here on Earth—and potentially off-world on other planets. She currently has two companies interested in commercialising this invention—one for Australia and New Zealand and the other ready to go global.

Listen to Dr Melkoumianis on Season 3, EP02: Biomimicry: engineering innovations inspired by nature.

Portrait of Dr Anne-Lise Chaber

Dr Anne-Lise Chaber

Dr Anne-Lise Chaber is a senior lecturer in the University of Adelaide’s School of Animal and Veterinary Science. She is steering Australia’s groundbreaking participation in a huge international research effort: training dogs to identify COVID-19 and prevent the spread of the virus. Anne-Lise has over 10 years’ experience as a field epidemiologist in England, Botswana and the United Arab Emirates, and has conducted research on the transmission of multiple diseases, including Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the wildlife-livestock-human interface.

Listen to Dr Chaber on Season 3, EP03: Dogs saving lives with a sniff. How can we decode disease with scent?

Dr Alice Jones

Dr Alice Jones

Dr Alice Jones is a lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide. She was awarded the Faculty of Sciences Dean's Award for Research Partnership in 2019, won a 2020 Women in Innovation Award, and was named a 2021 South Australian Young Tall Poppy in Science. Alice is an Associate Editor for the journal Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation—published by the Zoological Society of London—and serves on blue carbon technical reference panels for the South Australian government, the Commonwealth government Department for Agriculture Water and Environment, and the Australian Clean Energy Regulator.

Listen to Dr Jones on Season 3, EP04: Is blue carbon the answer to lowering emissions? The science of sinking carbon.

Dr Stephen Rodda

Dr Stephen Rodda

Stephen Rodda is Chief Innovation and Commercialisation Officer at the University of Adelaide. He holds a PhD from the University of Adelaide, was a Fellow at Harvard University, trained at the Harvard Business School and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Stephen has supported the start-up and scale-up phases of over 15 companies and secured more than $300m in investment, grants and other funds. He is currently chair of Sparc Hydrogen Pty Ltd and The Hospital Research Foundation Group Board. He is also a non-Executive Director for Greenhill Energy Pty Ltd. 

Listen to Dr Rodda on Season 3, EP05: The Business of Innovation. What does it take to bring big ideas to market?

Associate Professor Carolyn Semmler

Professor Carolyn Semmler

Carolyn leads the Applied Cognition and Experimental Psychology (ACEP) research group, focusing on the application of theories and models of cognition, judgement and decision-making to legal and medical contexts. 

The group’s research aims to understand human interaction with intelligent agents and the development of human-machine interfaces for defence and national security. Their work is driven by human rights and the value of reducing harm to humans through technology and innovation.

Listen to Professor Semmler on Season 3, EP06: The algorithm will see you now. Can AI fill the gaps in our mental health care system?

Dr Julie-Anne Toohey

Dr Julie-Anne Toohey

Dr. Julie-Anne Toohey completed her PhD in Criminology through the University of Adelaide and is a teacher and researcher at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Key areas of research include the importance of maintaining connections between incarcerated parents and their children, and the lived experiences of incarcerated women with cognitive disabilities. Her research has taken place in a number of prisons throughout Australia and privileges the voices of incarcerated people. Julie-Anne has taught Criminology at the University of Tasmania, the University of South Australia, and Flinders University, and has been part of research teams associated with the Criminology Research Unit at the University of Tasmania and the Crime and Policy Research Unit at Flinders University.

Listen to Dr Toohey on Season 3, EP08: How can we rethink reoffence?

Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray

Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray

My research investigates the connection between people and the environment. I focus on how to engage communities to be part of environmental decision making, particularly in the context of climate change and biodiversity protection. I have worked with Indigenous, ports, local government and fishing communities on a range of projects. These projects have examined how conflict, social and cultural values, knowledge, social learning and perceptions affect how people become involved in or help drive environmental sustainability.

My most recent work explore how different communities can adapt to climate change. This has included developing adaptation strategies for Indigenous peoples, looking at how urban areas can be ‘greened’ and the ways in which fisheries can be made more resilient and responsive to climate threats.

I am currently working on an ARC Future Fellowship that investigates how different knowledges can work together to address biodiversity and climate change impacts.

I welcome inquiries from Masters and PhD candidates interested in: urban ecology, Indigenous resource management, climate change adaptation, co-management, and fisheries/marine management.

Listen to Professor Nursey-Bray on Season 3, EP09: Dedication or deception? How greenwashing impacts us all.

Professor Deborah Turnbull

Professor Deborah Turnbull

Deborah Turnbull was awarded the Chair in Psychology at the University of Adelaide in 2005 and has been researching in the area of health and clinical psychology for over 20 years. Her major contributions have been in relation to breast and colorectal cancer screening and maternity care; her work has influenced the development of services in Australia and the UK. Professor Turnbull has published widely during her career. Her work has been published in high quality outlets including The Lancet, International Journal of Behavioral Medicine and Medical Screening. Her research group regularly presents at the peak international meetings relevant to her field, including the International Congress of Behavioral Medicine.

Listen to Professor Turnbull on Season 3, EP10: How can we build better care for men’s mental health? The conversation Australia needs to have.