Inaugural Emerging Issues in Science and Society (EISS) event 2017

To meet the great challenges of this century we need the best science, but also the best social and humanities research. The answers that science provides are often not enough to make the changes we need to see in the world. Only when researchers work together across disciplinary divides can we be sure we are asking the right questions. This inaugural Deakin Science & Society Network symposium, supported by the National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science at the Australian Academy of Science, will bring together emerging social science and humanities scholars with those in the physical and life sciences to address issues such as bushfire, aviation, microbial life, and superfoods from diverse perspectives. Through four sessions, speakers will put the scientific and the social in dialogue, generating new answers and new questions for some challenges of our time.

Date and location:

6th July 2017, 9:30am-3:30pm

Deakin Downtown, Level 12, Tower 2, 727 Collins St, Docklands VIC 3008

Sessions and Presenters


SESSION: Bushfire

QUESTION: Can we predict bushfires?

SPEAKERS: Timothy Neale (Deakin) and Jason Sharples (UNSW Canberra)


Jason Sharples is Associate Professor in Applied Mathematics in the School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences at UNSW Canberra. Jason’s research considers extreme and dynamic fire behaviour, the development of large conflagrations and bushfire risk management. He is also an Advanced Firefighter with the ACT Rural Fire Service.

Timothy Neale is a Research Fellow in Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. His research utilises anthropological and geographical methods to understand how we encounter and manage the environments in which we live.



QUESTION: Are Australia’s snakes the deadliest in the world?

SPEAKERS: Peter Hobbins (Sydney) and Ronelle Welton (Melbourne)


Peter Hobbins is a historian of science, technology and medicine at the University of Sydney. Having trained initially in pharmacology, studying Australian snake venoms, his historical research into local snakebites and antidotes before 1914 has recently been published as Venomous Encounters: Snakes, Vivisection and Scientific Medicine in Colonial Australia.

Ronelle Welton is a research scientist at the University of Melbourne who is passionate about communities and working with leaders to support health outcomes. A frequent speaker, the combination of research science in biochemistry and public health experience in PNG give her a unique ability to bridge the gap between practice and theory to plain English.


SESSION: Nutrition

QUESTION: Does nutrition science (mis)inform our diets?

SPEAKERS: Jessica Loyer (Adelaide) and Emma Beckett (Newcastle)


Jessica Loyer is a food studies scholar and Visiting Research Fellow within the Food Values Research Group in the School of Humanities at the University of Adelaide. Drawing on her background in anthropology, gastronomy, and history, she researches contemporary food and nutrition culture, as well as seeks to conceptually connect food production and consumption through interdisciplinary research methods. Her current work examines “superfoods” as global agricultural commodities and popular discourse about food, health, and values.

Emma Beckett is a molecular nutrition scientist and is currently an NHMRC Early Career Fellow in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle. She has a PhD in Food Science (Nutrition), Masters in Science Management and a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons I). Emma has a passion for nutrition myth-busting and aims to empower consumers to help them critically assess nutrition information and marketing.


SESSION: Microbiome

QUESTION: How does the microbiome change what it is to be human?

SPEAKERS: Tarsh Bates (UWA) and Amy Loughman (RMIT)


Amy Loughman is a psychologist and an Associate Lecturer at RMIT University. She has a PhD in psychology and Masters of Clinical Neuropsychology from the University of Melbourne. Amy is passionate about the gut microbiome and its relevance to human development, brain function and mental health. She is an active science communicator, and has written for The Conversation, The Research Whisperer and The Thesis Whisperer. She also shares her thoughts at and on Twitter @MBmicrobiome.

Tarsh Bates is an artist/researcher interested in the aesthetics of interspecies relationships and the human as a multispecies ecology. She completed a Master of Science (Biological Arts) in 2012 and is currently a candidate for a PhD at SymbioticA UWA. She is particularly enamoured with Candida albicans.

Emerging Issues in Science and Society 2017 speakers, July 2017