BDI stars celebrated in Vice-Chancellor's Awards (2020)

Last night, the Vice Chancellor's Education and Research Awards for 2020 were presented in a virtual ceremony.  Congratulations to the four Monash BDI staff winners, Professor Helen Abud, Associate Professor Priscilla Johanesen, Ms Danielle Rhodes and Associate Professor Michelle Lazarus who received a Vice Chancellor’s Award, celebrating excellence.

Congratulations to all nominees and award winners.

Vice-Chancellor’s Citation For Outstanding Contribution To Student Learning, was awarded to;

  • Professor Helen Abud
  • Associate Professor Priscilla Johanesen
  • Danielle Rhodes

Helen, Priscilla and Danielle have worked as a team on the multidisciplinary Molecular and Cell Biology Unit, MCB2011 since 2015 and have led the curriculum development, assessment strategies and delivery of this unit since its introduction in 2016. Utilising a blended learning approach this unit combines both face-to-face teaching with interactive online content and activities. This award recognises their innovative approaches to assessment in which they challenge students to utilise different technologies to produce a scientifically accurate short animation that explains a key molecular and cellular biology concept.

This innovative research project is completed collaboratively by pairs of students who are tasked with creating dynamic, engaging, informative and scientifically accurate animations. This task not only helps students learn molecular biology concepts and knowledge but also teaches key skills such as communication skills, project and time management, and teamwork.

This team were also recipients of a MNHS Dean’s Award for Excellence in 2020, after being nominated by Prof John Carroll from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute to recognise their outstanding contributions to quality student learning experiences, and to Monash’s reputation for world-class university education.  All three are Monash alumna.

Watch their video here.

Vice-Chancellor’s Award For Teaching Excellence was awarded to;

  • Associate Professor Michelle Lazarus

Michelle is part of the team at the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute.  Michelle’s decade-long career in higher education focuses on developing evidence-based educational initiatives, often challenging the status-quo in the process. Her innate drive to understand the how and why for effective educational delivery was critical for many when transitioning to pandemic online teaching, as she consulted with educators globally.

Her educational leadership approach is collaborative; her focus on effective teams has fostered effective global collaborations and grants, but also resulted in capacity building for others starting in evidence-informed curricular development. Her passion for teaching and student learning is observed through: student and peer feedback; national and international adoption of her curricula; global pedagogical consultation requests; successful grant funding; impactful and often cited Q1 publications; and by her role in shifting conversations in the tradition-steeped discipline of anatomy away from one that solely focuses on students’ acquisition of anatomical knowledge towards one that explores ways to develop students more holistically.

Professors John Bertram and John Carroll nominated Michelle for a MNHS Dean’s Award for Excellence in 2020, to recognise and reward her contribution to quality student learning experiences, and to Monash’s reputation for world-class university education. Watch her acceptance video here.

The following MNHS staff also received a Vice Chancellor’s Award, celebrating excellence.

Vice-Chancellor’s Award For Innovation In Learning And Teaching (Curriculum) was awarded to;

  • Associate Professor Ramesh Nataraja

Ram Nataraja is an academic paediatric surgeon who is also the Director of Surgical Simulation and the Co-Chair of the Simulation Service at Monash Children’s Hospital. He is with the Department of Paediatrics, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health. He is a world expert in surgical simulation, designing and implementing a wide range of simulation-based educational courses for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. All of Ram’s educational activities undergo rigorous evaluation and receive excellent feedback. They are attended by participants from all states in Australia.

He also combines the delivery of education with innovation, in particular the creation of novel low-cost simulators and models. All of these simulators have been validated in large cohort studies and subsequently published. His educational work with a novel simulator for a technique to treat a common paediatric condition has changed practice on a national level in Myanmar, resulting in a major positive health impact. He is constantly collaborating to ensure the delivery of excellent education at Monash.

Earlier this year, Ramesh received the MNHS Dean's Award for Excellence in Education – Innovation in Learning and Teaching.  He was nominated by Professors Katrina Williams and Eric Morand to recognise the development and implementation of technological and curriculum innovation to improve teaching, learning and assessment in online, blended or face to face classes – adding to the quality of the student experience, and to Monash’s reputation for world-class university education.   Watch his video here.

Vice-Chancellor’s Award For Excellence in Research by an Early Career Researcher (Science and Technology) was awarded to;

  • Associate Professor Zoe McQuilten

Zoe is a haematologist and Deputy-Director of the SPHPM Transfusion Research Unit. Since completing her PhD, Zoe has established a national research program in haematology and transfusion medicine, developed multidisciplinary international research collaborations and taken on leadership positions, including in national and international trial  groups and for the national blood service.

Her work was instrumental in developing national clinical trials underway in myeloma, aplastic anaemia and critical care, which have potential to transform patient care. She has been central in the development of a large registry program, supported by industry and being expanded internationally. She is leading a world-first genomics study (sequencing >20,000 samples) within ASPREE, which is building capacity in genomics within Monash University.

Zoe’s international standing is reflected in her peer-review roles with the top journals in her field. She has published widely, has been cited in international guidelines, and successfully established herself as an independent researcher.

Zoe was awarded the MNHS Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (ECR) after being nominated by Professor Sophia Zoungas, to recognise and reward her research excellence.  She is a Monash Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences alumna.  Watch her video here.

Read the full list of VC's Excellence Awards recipients in 2020.