Our staff

Professor Peter TeasdaleNBERC Director: Professor Peter Teasdale

Peter started at the University of South Australia in 2017 as Professor of Environmental Sciences, and is also the current Associate Head (Research), in the School of Natural and Built Environments. Peter graduated with a Bachelor of Science and then a PhD in Chemistry (material science) from the University of Wollongong, Chemistry Department. This was followed by postdoctoral research at CSIRO (Energy Technology) (contaminated sediment) and Lancaster University (Environmental Science) (passive samplers). Peter then worked at Griffith University, School of the Environment, for 17 years becoming a Professor in Environmental Chemistry. Peter remains an Adjunct at Griffith University. Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and recipient of the 2011 Lloyd Smythe Medal in Analytical Chemistry. His research interests include development of improved techniques for environmental monitoring of water, sediment and soil to better understand biogeochemical and contaminant processes. He has 113 HERDC publications (h-index 27), attracted nearly $5 million dollars in research funds from all sources and has supervised 21 HDR students and 28 Honours students. Peter is most passionate about supporting research students and early career researchers to have successful careers.


Strand Leaders

Topa PetitEnvironmental Stewardship

Strand Leader - Associate Professor Sophie (Topa) Petit

My research interests concern the understanding and conservation of nature.  I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Kentucky, and I am currently investigating avenues for sustainable agriculture, including pollination by native insects.  My Ph.D. is in Biology, from the University of Miami.  For many years I have been working on ecosystems involving bats (in the Caribbean, Australia, and other Pacific islands), particularly those benefiting from bat pollination and seed dispersal.  Obviously I have a great interest in island biology.  In Australia I have also been conducting research on western pygmy-possums and the plants with which they are associated, on spider orchids, and on a variety of other organisms and ecosystems (photo: vertebrate shelter ecology in the arid zone).  I am involved in other organisations to facilitate research and conservation:  as Associate Research Scientist, Institute for Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI), Curaçao; Associate Researcher, NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, Fiji; and Member of the Conservation Action Team for the Southern Yorke Peninsula.  As strand leader, I want to focus on the development of a vibrant research culture, and the happiness, motivation, and empowerment of researchers, technicians, and administrators involved in environmental research.


Abbas ElmualimSmart and Healthy Communities

Strand Leader - Professor Abbas Elmualim

Professor Elmualim has recently joined the University of South Australia as Professor and Discipline Lead of Construction and Project Management after 14 years of academic experience working at the School of Construction Management and Engineering, the University of Reading, UK.  Professor Elmualim is committed and passionate about interdisciplinary research work. He collaborate with colleagues within the School and beyond. He was one of the leading academics of the £3.5 m EPSRC funded Innovative Construction Research Centre (ICRC), Reading University. He has acted as the coordinator for the Big Ideas research project: sustained competitiveness of the UK construction. This was £1.7m project in collaboration with IMRCs at Loughborough and Salford Universities which has won the CIOB Innovation Award in 2014. He worked closely with the ICRC director in preparing the successful bid for the £3.8m Grand Challenge project in coordination with Bath and Cambridge Universities. He also acted as the research manager for the ICRC in developing a research community. Professor Elmualim has successfully led several collaborative projects with industry funded by the DTI as part of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme and the Spearhead Technology Transfer programme in excess of £1.2m, including a project with the Property and Facilities Department at Nationwide and another joint project with the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) and Jacobs Ltd. He has attracted funding from various sources including EPSRC, TSB, Department for International Development and the British Council. Professor Elmualim research focuses on the development of integrative approaches to design, construction and facilities management. He has a particular interest in sustainability and digital technologies viewed from a broad socio-technical systems perspective. His research approach seeks to combine engineering research methodologies with those derived from the social sciences. Areas of interest include digital technologies, sustainable design and sustainable facilities management, collaboration and stakeholders’ management in construction and culture, social enterprises and leadership.


Mizanur RahmanWater and Natural Resources

Strand Leader - Dr Mizanur Rahman

Dr Rahman obtained his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Canberra and then worked as research associate and post-doctoral fellow at the UNSW, Canberra and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand respectively before joining the University of South Australia in 2010. He has 12 years of research experience in different disciplines involving international collaborators from USA, UK, New Zealand, Germany, India, China, Bangladesh etc. His current research interest includes soil-water interaction, seepage (permeability), reuse of waste (construction & demolition, tyre) materials, microbial induced calcite precipitation (MICP) for strengthening soils/concrete, constitutive modelling of material behaviour, finite element modelling (FEM), discrete element modelling (DEM), artificial neural network (ANN), evolutionary polynomial algorithm (EPA), data acquisition and developing new testing technique etc. His research was funded by prestigious fellowship (Australian Academy of Science Early Career Fellowship) and industry partners. He is very keen to facilitate research collaborations within/across the strands to create opportunities for other collaborations across the university and industry.


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Natural and Built Environments Education

Strand Leader - Professor Julie Mills


Natural and Built Environments Research Centre Management Committee

  • Professor John van Leeuwen
  • Dr Sophie (Topa) Petit
  • Professor Abbas Elmualim
  • Dr Mizanur Rahman
  • Dr Nicholas Chileshe
  • Dr Guna Hewa
  • Dr Xing Ma
  • Mr David Pezzaniti
  • Prof Julie Mills
  • Ms Danielle Gericke
  • Mrs Elizabeth Stevens

Areas of study and research

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