Breaking the Bias: International Women's Day 2022

The UQ institutes, IMB, AIBN, QBI, QAAFI, and SMI proudly invite you to a celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March at the Queensland Brain Institute. Join us for a catered morning tea and inspirational panel discussion based on this year's theme "Breaking the Bias", featuring some of our brightest women excelling in the sciences.

About International Women's Day

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality. View the site.

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Date And Time

Tuesday, 8 March 2022
10:30 am – 12:00 pm AEST


Queensland Brain Institute
QBI Auditorium - Level 7
QBI Building 79, The University of Queensland
Saint Lucia Campus, Brisbane, QLD 4072
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QAAFI - A/Prof Heather Smyth

Associate Professor Heather Smyth is a flavour chemist and sensory scientist who has been working with premium food and beverage products for the past twenty years. With a background in wine flavour chemistry, her expertise is in understanding consumer enjoyment of foods and beverages in terms of both sensory properties and composition.  

Dr Smyth has a special interest in describing and articulating food quality, understanding regional flavours of locally grown produce, and modelling food flavour and textural properties using instrumental measurements. A/Prof Smyth also specialises in researching how human physiology, such as saliva and chewing behaviour, can impact sensory perception and therefore food choice. Current projects involve specialty coffee, beer, wine, native plant foods, cocoa, meat and seafood, tropical fruits, cereals, dairy products and some processed products and snack foods. A/Prof Smyth collaborates with several companies and research groups to discover how and why consumers enjoy food which aids in the design and production of superior products with increased consumer value. Dr Smyth is heavily involved in training industry and researchers in the application of flavour chemistry, sensory and consumer evaluation methods. 

In January 2022, Heather commenced as the Deputy Director for Research for Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at The University of Queensland. 


QBI - A/Prof Fatima Nasrallah

A/Prof Nasrallah is a neuroscientist with a background in magnetic resonance and interdisciplinary brain research. She graduated with a PhD in neurochemistry and NMR from the Neuroscience Research Australia Institute (NeurRA) at the University of New South Wales in 2009. In April 2009, She spent 3 years at the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (A*STAR) where she pioneered the use of magnetic resonance imaging as a tool in cognitive brain research in the rodent. In 2013, she was appointed as senior research fellow at the Clinical Imaging Research Center where she delved into the clinical realms of human imaging. In late 2015, she returned to Australia as a Motor Accident and Injury Commission fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland (UQ) where she independently heads her own group. Her research spans basic and clinical brain research with the the overall aim of understanding how the brain functions in health and injury, specifically, developing methods for early diagnosis of primary biomarkers following injury and translating these findings. 


AIBN - Dr Nasim Amiralian

Nasim is Group Leader of Bio-inspired Materials research at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. Her pioneering research uses a nanocellulose platform technology to develop innovative materials for diverse applications, including biodegradable packaging materials, medical textiles, and bioelectronics. The application of nanocellulose for advanced materials is gaining interest internationally, and the vision is to capitalise on this momentum to spearhead research into new sustainable products that will have global impact. 

Nasim is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of scientists through supervision and mentorship, outreach activities and media coverage. Nasim has been instrumental in the development of a culture of collaboration and career support for the next generation of research leaders, in particular women in science. She has been engaged in communities such as AIBN Gender Equity, UQ Ally, UQ Wellness Ambassador, UQ HDR career development mentoring program, Early Career Researcher committee, Women in Technology (WiT) Life science committee, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and conferences committee and also plays role as a Queensland Flying Scientist.   


SMI - Sarah Mackenzie

Sarah Mackenzie is an international development professional with deep field experience in Africa and Latin America. She has worked extensively with civil society and non-government organisations (NGOs), particularly in the field of water, sanitation, and hygiene. Based in Burkina Faso for five years, Sarah began collaborating with a mineral exploration company in 2011 as the country’s gold mining sector boomed. She has since worked with other mining and exploration companies in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Niger. Her current areas of disciplinary expertise include: community engagement, community development, social investment, and gender as a cross-cutting theme. Since joining SMI, Sarah has worked on research projects in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Peru and Government capacity building in Niger. She has been involved in community relations training programs in Australia, Mexico, Chile and Peru and the development of CSRM’s on-line professional development offerings, leading the on-line Community Relations at Exploration Masterclass. She also works closely with the Centre Director on strategic programs of work. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and History from Auckland University and a Master of Science in Development Management from the Open University in the UK. She is fluent in French and Spanish.


QAAFI - Shanice Van Haeften

Miss Shanice Van Haeften is a PhD candidate at the Queensland Alliance of Agriculture and Food Innovation Institute. Her PhD research is on using new innovative tools to increase the reliability and productivity of mungbean production for growers in Australia and Myanmar. Shanice is passionate about improving global food security and ensuring that communities across the globe have access to agricultural systems that are resilient to climate change. She also is passionate about science communication, in particularly, highlighting the importance of women in STEM! Prior to commencing her PhD, Shanice completed a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Business with Honours in the area of horticultural biotechnology at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. 


About Celebrating Women in Science 2022




QBI Auditorium - Level 7 QBI Building 79, The University of Queensland, Saint Lucia Campus, Brisbane, QLD 4072