The importance of keeping
an open mind to new ideas
Public Lecture with
John Monash Scholars
Wednesday 18 March, 2020
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Glyn Davis Theatre
Glyn Davis Building, Melbourne School of Design
The University of Melbourne
The General Sir John Monash Foundation is pleased to invite friends, supporters and members of the public to attend a Public Lecture hosted by Professor Duncan Maskell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.
At the 2019 John Monash Scholars’ Global Symposium, over 70 Scholars representing a wide range of disciplines came together from across the globe to explore some of the key sustainability challenges of our time. Discussions across the two days led to the exploration and discovery of common themes and ideas, including the need to embrace change and continually seek adaptive solutions as we strive for a more resilient, sustainable future.
“The future isn’t abstract - it starts from the decisions we make right now.”
This Public Lecture follows on from the Symposium and will address the need to engage intellectually with new ideas and different perspectives in order to advance mutual understanding and find solutions to complex global problems.
Professor Duncan Maskell will provide the Welcome Address and Helen Grasswill will facilitate a cross-disciplinary panel discussion with John Monash Scholars, each of whom is pushing the boundaries of knowledge and practice and leading the way with new ideas.
Helen Grasswill is a Walkley, peer-voted Logies and Human Rights Award-winning journalist and author. Her 50-year career includes three decades at the ABC where she worked on major news and current affairs programs, culminating in 22 years at Australian Story (where she was part of the foundation team that created the program). Much of Helen’s work has been concerned with social justice and science, particularly environmental sciences. She is the author of the 130,000-word best-selling, award-winning book Australia, A Timeless Grandeur (Lansdowne, 1981), and has edited, written or contributed to countless other books, as well as to magazines, newspapers, radio and international television. After "retiring" two and a half years ago, she became a co-founder and director of ABC Alumni and now spends considerable time working on submissions to government inquiries and on other activities in support of public broadcasting. She is also a reviewer for the John Monash Foundation Scholarships.
The John Monash Scholars on the panel are represented by:
Dr Joe Gattas – 2010 John Monash Scholar; Origami Engineer & Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland
Dr Davis McCarthy – 2011 John Monash Scholar; Head of the Bioinformatics and Cellular Genomics group at St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research and the University of Melbourne
Dr Amy McLennan – 2009 John Monash Scholar; Research Fellow at the 3A Institute of the Australian National University
Ms Brighid Sammon – 2018 Susan and Isaac Wakil John Monash Scholar; Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria)
Joe is an origami engineer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland. He leads the ‘Folded Structures Lab’ research group, founded in 2014 at the University of Queensland, after completion of his Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford in 2013. The group comprises six PhD candidates and 15 Undergraduate/Master’s thesis students, with $1.2 million in research and industry grants. Their research involves using origami design techniques to invent and improve thin-walled structures and devices. By utilising folded patterns, origami engineers can transform many sheet materials into efficient and easily-manufactured applications, with current applications already seen in deployable and modular housing; energy-absorbing packaging and barriers; and lightweight automobile and aircraft components. Joe is also a member of the Australian Research Council Future Timber Hub. The Hub is Australia’s leading timber research collaboration, bringing together experts from industry, government, and academia who are committed to the future development of tall timber buildings in the Pacific region. Joe’s work within the Hub is related to digital design and manufacture for innovative structures and systems.
Dr Davis McCarthy, 2011 John Monash Scholar
Davis is a statistician and genomic scientist; graduating as the top-ranked student in statistics, Davis earned a Bachelor of Science with Honours (first-class) and a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in German) from the University of Melbourne. In 2015 he completed his DPhil in Statistics in the Department of Statistics and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. He was also the President of the Balliol College MCR. Under the supervision of Professor Peter Donnelly, he worked on the analysis of genomic variation in human health and disease, with a focus on understanding the genetic contributions to risk for type 2 diabetes. He undertook postdoctoral work with Dr Oliver Stegle in the Statistical Genomics group at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Cambridge, UK, as an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow. There, he worked on understanding genetic regulation of human induced pluripotent stem cells at the single-cell level. His interests lie in developing statistical methods and software for the analysis of single-cell genomic data and applying them to large biological datasets. He is currently Head of the Bioinformatics and Cellular Genomics group at St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research and the University of Melbourne.
Dr Amy McLennan, 2009 John Monash Scholar
Amy is a human scientist working at the intersections of technology, society and wellbeing. She is a Research Fellow at the 3A Institute, Australian National University, where the team is building a new branch of engineering to take AI safely and sustainably to scale. She is also a Research Affiliate with the School of Anthropology at the University of Oxford. She is trained in biomedicine and medical anthropology, and has experience working in the private and policy sectors, including with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Ms Brighid Sammon, 2018 Susan and Isaac Wakil John Monash Scholar
Brighid is passionate about inclusive and equitable cities. Through her volunteering, advocacy and promotion of the planning profession she hopes to shed light on the need for diversity in decision making and how this could reframe the way we see and shape our cities. Through her work for not-for-profit organisations, universities, local government and the private sector Brighid is developing an approach to her work that she hopes will see more cross-collaboration between different built environment disciplines. She completed a MSc (Urban Land Governance) from Erasmus University, Rotterdam and currently works as a Senior Policy Advisor for the Victorian Government in the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.