Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Research pays off for Graham Centre graduates

Years of study and research will come to fruition when 11 students from the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation are awarded their PhDs by Charles Sturt University (CSU) on Tuesday 12 December.

Centre Director Professor Michael Friend said, “Graduation is a time to celebrate the achievements of our students, their hard work and dedication over many years and the contributions their research has made to improving the profitability and sustainabuility of our primary industries.

“We will also be celebrating the graduation of a Master of Philosophy student, and 11 Honours students whose research has been supported by Graham Centre scholarships.”

Graduating in a ceremony at CSU in Wagga Wagga from 9:30am, Tuesday 12 December

  • Dr Muhammad Kamran’s PhD research has identified the best conditions for harvesting and processing Australian olive leaves to maximise the yield of beneficial chemical compounds called biophenols.
  • Dr Kyle Reynolds will be awarded his PhD for  research investigating if genetic engineering can be used to develop a more sustainable source of vegetable oil production.
  • Dr Jessica Rose will be awarded her PhD for research which increases our understanding of the brain control of reproduction in merino rams.

Graduating in a ceremony at CSU in Wagga Wagga from 3 pm, Tuesday 12 December

  • Dr Dominik Skoneczny’s PhD compared Paterson’s curse plants collected from Australia, Portugal and Spain to examine the genetics, ecology and chemistry of the plant in various locations. He will be awarded the Higher Degree by Research University Medal.
  • Dr Jesmin Aktar’s PhD showed perennial wheat can survive for three years, regrow and produce grain and forage, showing its potential as an option for mixed farmers.
  • Dr Kylie Crampton will be awarded her PhD for research examining root-lesion nematodes, a costly pest for the grain industry.
  • Dr Clare Flakelar’s PhD research has examined the bioactive compounds in canola oil and the impact of agronomic practices, processing and storage.
  • Dr Marefa Jahan’s PhD focused on sialic acids, a type of sugar molecule in milk and its impact on pig production and human health.
  • Dr William Kerua will travel from Papua New Guinea to be awarded his PhD for research to recognise farmers’ perspectives in research, development and extension in Cocoa production.
  • Dr Susan Orgill will be awarded her PhD for research demonstrating that the ability of soil to sequester Carbon is driven by regional climate and soil properties more than farming practice.
  • Dr Aaron Preston’s PhD research is set to help grain growers control annual ryegrass, with a faster testing method for herbicide resistance.
  • Mr Cassius Coombs will be awarded a Master of Philosophy for research examining the impact of chilled and frozen storage on meat.
  • Graham Centre Honours scholarships support the research of CSU undergraduate students, and this year 11 scholarship recipients will be graduating. Ms Emma Lynch, Mr Thomas Keogh, Ms Veronika Vicic, Ms Rebecca Barnewall, Ms Jennifer Connor, Ms Marnie Hodge, Ms Annabel Stoddart, Ms Grace Whiteley and Mr Mark Harrison will graduate with Bachelor of Animal Science (Honours). Mr Tabin Brooks will be awarded his Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Mr Alistair Dart will be awarded a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours).

Media Note: High resolution photos will be available after the ceremony. To arrange interviews contact Graham Centre communications officer Ms Emily Malone 0439 552 385 or email