Summer and the Festive Season: Monash University experts available

Monash University has a number of experts available for comment on a range of issues relating to the Festive season and the summer holiday period.

Please contact the experts directly on their listed mobile numbers and email addresses, noting limited availability over the festive period.

The Monash University close down period runs from Friday 20 December 2019  to Thursday 2 January 2020.

During this time we cannot guarantee availability of academic staff. However, for urgent issues related to Monash University, please call our media line on +61 3 9903 4840 and leave a message.

We wish you a happy and safe festive season.

See topics below including politics and international affairs, climate and bushfires, road safety, shopping and spending, online safety, gambling and more:


Melissa Adamski, Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics
Contact details: +61 419 272 694 or

  • Weight management and nutrition over Christmas
  • Travel Nutrition

Simone Gibson, Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics 
Contact details: +61 447 029 510 or

  • Maintaining diet and weight-loss goals during the festive season

Associate Professor Wendy Brown, Department of Surgery
Contact details: +61 422 239 100 or

  • Maintaining diet and weight-loss goals during the festive season

Associate Professor Steven Roberts, School of Social Sciences
Contact details: +61 435 811 448 or

Read more of Steven’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • ‘Risky’ drinking habits of Australian men, particularly during the festive season
  • Alcohol and male bonding; alcohol as a social lubricant at Christmas and New Year’s Eve gatherings and parties
  • ‘Risky drinking’ defined as more than two standard drinks per day (for lifetime risk of disease) and more than four standard drinks on a single occasion (for risk of injury)
  • How do masculine social norms perpetuate risky drinking behaviours around this time of year - including at major sporting events
  • National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines on alcohol consumption


Why doctors support pill testing at music festivals across Australia
Professor Paul Komesaroff, Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethics in Medicine & Society
Contact details: +61 417 552 659 or
Read full article at The Conversation

“The available evidence suggests pill testing is an effective and useful approach to harm minimisation. We believe it has the capacity to decrease ambulance calls to festival-goers, help change behaviour and save lives.”

Associate Professor Philip Russo, Director of Nursing Research
Contact details: +61 411 659 486 or
Read more of Philip’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Hospital and healthcare associated infections and the prevention of hospital outbreaks

Professor Merlin Thomas, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
Contact details: +61 408 413 508 or
Merlin.Thomas@monash.eduRead more of Merlin’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Hangover cures. There aren’t any!
  • Does alcohol have medicinal properties?

Associate Professor Eric Wood, Head of Transfusion Research Unit
Phone: +61 407 038 435 or

  • Blood supplies and transfusion emergencies over the holiday period


Dr Joanne Ryan, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
Contact details: +61 428 581 976 or

  • New year resolutions
  • Ageing well, longevity, lowering your epigenetic age
  • Major stress and trauma – building resilience
  • Feeling depressed over the holiday season

Associate Professor Peter Bragge, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
Contact details: +61 403 197 275 or Read more of Peter’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Breaking habits in the New Year

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc)
Contact details: +61 429 028 852 or

  • Why mental illness can worsen during the festive season
  • Christmas can be a lonely time for some

Dr Rosanne Freak-Poli, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
Contact details: +61 412 700 632 or

  • Reasons why some isolate themselves during a typically social season

Professor Helena Teede, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
Contact details: +61 407 005 737 or

  • Managing your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels

Dr Charles Livingstone, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
Contact details: +61 400 395 889 or
Read more of Charles’ commentary at Monash Lens

  • Problem gambling can intensify during the festive season

Dr Barbara Barbosa Neves, School of Social Sciences
Contact details: +61 426 722 241
Read more of Barbara’s commentary here
Unavailable Jan 5  – Jan 20

  • Loneliness in later life as a growing social issue
  • Causes and consequences of loneliness in later life
  • How technology can help tackle loneliness for older Australians
  • Virtual reality, robotics, apps and tablets for older Australians
  • Being lonely is different from being alone
  • Ageism


Kim Borg, BehaviourWorks, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
Contact details: +61 410 502 061 or  Read more of Kim’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Holiday waste: how to reduce waste while still enjoying the holiday period


Associate Professor Shantha Rajaratnam, School of Psychology and Psychiatry 
Contact details: +61 447 535 001 or

  • Sleep deprived children (and their parents) on Christmas morning
  • General issues of fatigue/sleep

Dr Brea Kunstler, BehaviourWorks
Contact details: +61 405 366 124 or

  • Preventing chronic disease through physical activity


Dr Rebecca Dare, Managing Director of Australian Consumer and Retail Studies (ACRS) and Senior Lecturer, Department of Marketing
Contact details: +61 438 176 563 or
Read more of Rebecca’s work on Monash Lens
Please note, Dr Dare is not available for comment from 21 December 2019 to 5 January 2020

  • Overcrowding in shopping centres
  • The role of shopping centre design to make us stay longer and spend more
  • Consumer behaviour and retails trends around Christmas
  • Shopping habits: what retailers need to know about the ‘new consumer’
  • How retailers aim to lure you back to physical shops


Professor Roslyn Gleadow, Faculty of Science
Contact details: +61 3 99051667or
Read more of Roslyn’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Averting robo-bees: why free-flying robotic bees are a bad idea

Dr Christopher Rudiger, Department of Civil Engineering
Contact details: +61 3 9905 4985 or

Dr Paul Read, Co-director of the National Centre for Research in Bushfire and Arson
Contact details: +61 434 066 103 or
Read more of Paul’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Bushfires - why Australia is experiencing one of the worst bushfire seasons on record
  • Bushfires, crime and climate change; Advancing bushfire arson prevention in Australia

Dr David Holmes, Director of the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub 
Contact details: +61 408 550 529 or
Read more of David’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • How do we communicate the effects of climate change through politics and mainstream media
Professor Yuming Gu​o, Head of the Climate, Air Quality Research (CARE) Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
Contact details: +61 412 545 867 or ​Y​uming.​G​​ ​​
  • Bush fire smoke and air quality
  • The health impacts of harmful particulate matter in the air


Professor Mark Crosby, Faculty of Business and Economics
Contact details: +61 437 988 120 or
Read more of Mark’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Interest rates, global economy, prospects for recession or growth in 2020

Dr Zareh Ghazarian, School of Social Sciences
Contact details: +61 402 851 224 or
Read more of Zareh’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • General political commentary

Dr Nick Economou, School of Social Sciences
Contact details: +61 425 748 166 or
Read more of Nick’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • General political commentary

Dr Philip Mendes, Department of Social WorkContact details: +61 413 285 167 or

  • Cashless Debit Card/compulsory income management
  • Newstart
  • Young people transitioning from out of home care
  • The Malka Leifer case


Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Criminology, Faculty of Arts
Contact details: (+61) 412 339 243 or
Read more of Kate’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Family violence, intimate partner violence
  • Adolescent family violence
  • Domestic homicides
  • Homicide law
  • Sentencing
  • Criminal law reform
  • Children and the law

Associate Professor Luke Beck, Faculty of Law
Contact details: +61 403 580 311 or
Luke Beck is a constitutional lawyer and leading expert on the separation of church and state/religious freedom issues in Australia. Read some of Luke’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Constitutional law
  • Religious freedom


Associate Professor Tan Chee Pin, School of Engineering
Contact details: (+603) 5514 6205 or

  • Sustainable intelligent transportation ecosystem

Dr George Rivers, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Business & Economics
Contact details: +61 430 361 277 or

  • Petrol prices have soared to record highs across Australia. What are some of the reasons behind the sudden hike? Is worse yet to come?

Dr Ben Beck, Deputy Head of Prehospital, Emergency and Trauma Research
Contact details: +61 423 933 755 or

  • Road safety, injury and trauma, cycling, cardiac arrest

Professor Graham Currie, Institute of Transport Studies
Contact details: +61 414 852 699 or

  • How will our public transport cope with the demand over the festive season?

Professor Max Cameron, Monash University Accident Research Centre
Contact details: +61 417 331 762 or

  • All aspects of traffic law enforcement (including alcohol/drug related accidents)


Mehrdad Arashpour, Department of Civil Engineering
Contact details: +61 423 597 027 or
Read more of Mehrdad’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Construction accidents and safety