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Post docs, PhDs and staff

CAR provides funding to postdoctorate researchers to undertake CAR-relevant research projects. It also provides 'top up' funding for PhD students and employs two staff on a part-time basis. Postdocs and PhDs successful in receiving funding for 2018  are listed below.

 Postdoctoral researchers

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University of Melbourne

Dinh is a postdoctoral fellow based at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. His CAR project aims to advance the assessment of long-term exposure to multiple sources of air pollution and investigate social determinants and adverse health impact of long-term exposures to multiple sources in middle-aged Australians. Longitudinal data from the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS) will be used in this project. 

Learn more about Dinh's research here.

Dr Dinh Bui 
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Dr Nathan Cooper

Queensland University of Technology

Nathan is a postdoctoral fellow based at the Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW. His CAR project aims to determine how well schools protect children from exposure to air pollution and what measures can be undertaken in schools to effectively minimise exposure. To achieve this, a large network of low-cost air pollution monitors will be installed in schools across Sydney, and an analysis will quantify the influence of different school characteristics and settings on PM2.5 levels inside and outside classrooms. The results will be used to develop policies for governments and protocols for schools to protect schoolchildren.

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Dr Rachel Tham 

University of Melbourne

Rachel is a postdoctoral fellow based at the University of Melbourne. Rachel is currently undertaking a CAR project focusing on variations in air pollution amongst Australian jurisdictions. Rachel completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2017 – her research focused on the combined role of outdoor fungal spores, air pollution and human rhinovirus on asthma hospitalisations and lung function. She has a broad background in public health encompassing clinical education. 

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Dr Katharine Heathcote

 PhD students

Emily Hemstock

University of Tasmania

Emily is a PhD candidate at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania. Emily’s thesis is titled, “The Health Impacts of Exposure to Air Pollution in Early Childhood”. Her research focuses on a group of children from the Latrobe Valley in Victoria that were exposed to an acute, high-intensity air pollution episode from a coal mine fire. The children were particularly susceptible as they were <2 years old at the time of the fire. This is a unique opportunity to understand the health implications of an air pollution episode during this critical window of respiratory development and growth.

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Wenhua Yu

Monash University

Wenhua is a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. Wenhua’s research focuses on machine learning, modeling simulation, and health assessment under the background of global warming and climate change. His PhD project is ‘Quantifying the association between air pollutants and health outcomes in the Asia-Pacific region’. The project aims to estimate the spatiotemporal distribution of environmental exposure in the Asia-Pacific region using an innovative deep ensemble machine learning framework and assess their health effects on the public.

Learn more about Wenhua's research here.

Steve Vander Hoorn

University of Western Australia

Steve’s primary expertise lies in the area of biostatistics and he has worked extensively in the fields of biotechnology and population health. Steve has been involved in developing innovative approaches to design and analysis of intervention trials as well as burden of disease studies. For the past 10 years he has worked as a statistical consultant across a wide range of disciplines. Currently Steve is a PhD candidate at the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia where he aims to acquire new biostatistical and epidemiological skills in the areas of air quality and energy transitions research. His PhD title is: 'Impact of urban land use and transport planning on air quality and associated health outcomes: case studies within the Perth metropolitan area'. 

Learn more about Steve's research here.

 Operations Manager


Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

Joy's role is to provide overall business support to CAR, including developing policy and procedures, strategic planning and overall coordination and management within CAR. Joy has a background in zoology, having completed a PhD in 2007 from the University of Sydney. She has held a number of postdoctoral positions both nationally and internationally. 

Dr Joy Tripovich 
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 Knowledge and Translation Broker

Ana Porta Cubas

Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

Ana's role is to engage with and translate the research findings of CAR to a wide variety of stakeholders. These include policy makers, regulatory agencies and the wider public. Ultimately, the aim is for CAR members to undertake research which has impact and is relevant to end-users. Ana's background is in biomedical research, having completed a Masters in breast cancer research in 2011. Subsequent to this she worked in government agencies in the areas of science policy, program management and economic analysis. She is also a freelance medical writer for the pharmaceutical industry.

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Data Curator

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Karthik Gopi 

University of Sydney

Karthik is a biostatistician at the University of Sydney, with a background in ecology and food science. He is currently completing his PhD at the University of New South Wales in the development of accurate and reliable methods to determine seafood provenance. His work at the University of Sydney includes machine learning approaches to predicting air pollution concentrations at high spatial and temporal resolutions for epidemiological studies. His work with CARDAT includes data curation, data acquisitions, tools development and handling data access requests.

Research Grant Co-ordinator

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University of Sydney

Kathy currently works as a research grant coordinator for the Centre for Air Pollution, Energy and Research. Kathy is an experienced researcher and educator. Her skills lie predominately in the areas of chronic disease epidemiological research, research design and evidence-based practice (EBP) education. Her research interests are in environmental exposures affecting human health and the preventable factors underlying rural and urban variations in health, health care and health outcomes. Kathy was awarded her PhD in 2019. Her thesis examined socioecological factors influencing patient outcomes after severe traumatic injuries. 

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Where are they now?

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Monash University

Rongbin is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. Rongbin's current work involves estimating global daily high-resolution wildfire-related PM2.5 and ozone and their health and epigenetic impacts. Since 2018, Rongbin has contributed to over 30 publications, including 14 papers as the first or co-first author published in top journals such as NEJM, Lancet Planetary Health, JAMA Pediatrics, PloS Medicine, Environmental Health Perspective, and Environment International.

Learn more about Rongbin's research here.

Mona Elbarbary

University of Sydney

Mona is a public health professional with a passion for translating research and statistical analysis into data-driven healthcare strategies. Mona has worked in the Public Health Response Branch as a Reporting Data Analyst (Epidemiology and Surveillance) and has previous experience in a variety of research and teaching positions at the University of Sydney.

Previous PhD students


Rongbin Xu
Josh Horsley 

University of Sydney

Josh's PhD is entitled 'Fire Smoke Exposure and Health Impacts in Australia' and revolves around two areas: providing estimates of health and economic costs of air pollution from historical fires; and launching an online tool with real-time exposure and estimates of health impacts of bushfires. This project will contribute towards public health by supporting evidence-based policy and decision-making.

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Previous Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr Mahsan Sadeghi 

CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Research Fellow

Dr Mahsan Sadeghi was a previous CAR Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Mahsan currently is a CERC Research Fellow at CSIRO Energy Business Unit. Her research focus area at CSIRO is on occupants' thermal comfort and building overheating, which is part of a national project aiming to develop standards for the Australian Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). 

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Dr Tom Cole-Hunter 

University of Copenhagen

Dr Tom Cole-Hunter was a previous CAR Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Tom is a Departmental Fellow, Environmental Epidemiology Group, Section of Environmental Health, Department of Public Health, at the University of Copenhagen, where he lectures in environmental (particularly noise) epidemiology and exposure assessment. Tom is also a Consultant in Air Pollution, Asia-Pacific Centre for Environment and Health, Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organisation in Seoul on matters of air pollution including health and climate change.

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