Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Graduation a celebration of research to further agriculture

The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation will celebrate the achievements of Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) graduates whose research is set to improve agricultural production and support the development of functional foods.

2018 graduatesNine PhD graduates, a Master of Philosophy graduate, and eight Honours research graduates will receive their awards in ceremonies at Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga on Friday 13 December and Monday 16 December.

Acting Graham Centre Director, Professor Leigh Schmidtke said it showcases the diversity of research at the Centre.

“The research by these graduates takes in agricultural supply chains from paddock to plate looking at ways to be more environmentally sustainable, profitable and to develop products that may benefit human health,” Professor Schmidtke said.

“The formal graduation ceremony caps off years of study and the Centre is looking forward to celebrating the achievements of these graduates and the contribution they will make to our agricultural sector.”

Friday 13 December, 2pm ceremony, School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

  • Dr James Mwendwa’s research has found early crop vigour and biomass accumulation are important traits in canola and wheat cultivars when it comes to suppressing weed growth.
  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) graduates Mr Javier Atayde, Ms Olivia Brunton, Mr Nathan Hatty, and Mr Tom Price will be awarded their degrees.

Monday 16 December, 2pm ceremony, School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences and School of Biomedical Sciences

  • Dr Forough Ataollahi’s research found providing calcium and magnesium to pregnant ewes improved their health and boosted the immune response in twin newborn lambs and increased their live-weight gains.
  • Dr Esther Callcott’s research has identified the potential for using Australian-grown coloured rice as a functional food to combat some of the health risk factors associated with obesity and lifestyle diseases. Read more.
  • Dr Chris Florides documented the allergenicity of 112 wheat cultivars grown in Australia over the last 160 years, providing important tools for plant breeders to develop varieties more suited for people with mild gluten intolerance. Read more
  • Dr Doaa Hanafy studied extracts from mint against a number of factors implicated in development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Master of Philosophy graduate Ms Emma Hand studied why there are more female offspring when ewes are fed a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids, in particular, the impact on the time between oestrus and ovulation.
  • Dr Susan Street compared the digestive efficiency in Merino and Dorper sheep fed a range of diets.
  • Dr Shiwangni Rao investigated the antioxidant properties of wholegrain cereals like rice, sorghum, barley and oats on colorectal cancer cells. She found potential for compounds in these cereals to kill cancer cells.
  • Dr Lucy Watt’s research has shown the potential for hard-seeded annual legumes to fill the feed gap for southern NSW sheep producers.
  • Dr Rachael Wood’s research has found it’s possible for rice growers to reduce water use without compromising the whole grain yield, an important indicator of grain quality.
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) Mr Gideon Kang and Mr Jack Murphy, Bachelor of Animal Sciences (Honours) graduates Ms Brianna Maslin, Ms Sabrina Meurs will receive their awards.


Media Note: Media are invited to get interviews at a Graham Centre lunch for Graduates from 11:30am on Monday 16 December 2019. To attend contact communications officer Emily Malone on 0439 552 385 or email