Health PhD stories

Our current PhD candidates and graduates have taken their PhD experience at Deakin to new heights and made valuable contributions to health research. Here are their stories.

Open a world of opportunities

Join Deakin's research community and you'll unlock a world of opportunity. Connect with some of the world's leading health researchers who will provide guidance throughout your degree. You'll pursue the area of research you're passionate about, access world-class facilities and make valuable connections with industry. Be ready to step into your future and a rewarding career in research.

Learn more about becoming a research student


Barbara Brayner's research aims to understand how eating a dietary pattern high in fats, including foods such as avocados, nuts and oily fish, impacts individuals' risk of gaining weight or developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Plant-based foods

Laura Marchese's research focuses on the diverse range of plant-based diets and plant-based foods we consume, how they are measured in research, and how they affect cardiometabolic health across the lifespan.

Nutrition and global health

Oliver Huse’s research explores processed food and beverage corporations’ influence over food and nutrition environments in East Asia low and middle-income countries.

Rural nursing

Hannah Beks is a registered nurse and research fellow with Deakin Rural Health (Warrnambool). Hannah’s research interests span the nursing workforce and rural health.

Gut microbiota

Yuan Gao's PhD research delves into the relationship between maternal gut microbiome during pregnancy and its connection to infant food allergies in early life.

Mental health

Sammy Russell seeks to fill the gaps in research around people who experience more than one mental health conditions, specifically those with co-occurring bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.


Rebecca Jedwab uses her passion for nurses’ wellbeing to research how implementing new technology in an acute healthcare setting affects both nurses and their work.

While we advance our understanding of the disease mechanism, we can predict the risk for each disease even before the symptoms emerge and provide prevention strategies.

Yuan Gao

PhD graduate


A passion for neuroscience inspired Pamela Barhoun’s PhD journey to develop interventions to help children with motor development disorders move better.


Rebecca Edgar is a parasitologist who studies the human malaria parasite and is working towards novel drug targets to treat the disease.

Exercise science

Steve Foulkes is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and pursued research centred on developing exercise interventions aimed at improving cardiovascular health for cancer patients.

Nutrition and rural health

As an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Laura focused her research on rural health inequalities in non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

Cotutelle PhD

Theresa's passion led her to complete a Cotutelle PhD in the UK, giving her health research on Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries an international perspective.

With research we can explore treatments for health conditions to ultimately provide recommendations for guidelines and clinicians to use in their practice.

Sammy Russell

PhD candidate in medicine (mental health)

Inspiring through research

Sport science

PhD candidate Olivia Knowles shares how the skills she’s learning in sports science will help make an impact as women’s football grows.

Molecular pathology of cancer

Shweta Patel's research involves developing a new method for cancer pathology, which could reduce the odds for abdomen-based cancer patients needing to undergo a second surgery.

Contact us

If you have any questions about studying a PhD at Deakin, please get in touch:

+61 3 9251 7777

Email the Faculty of Health