The University of South Australia’s Images of Research & Teaching Competition celebrates the breadth and diversity of our innovation, and the people who make it happen.




Images of Research and Teaching 2022 winners and finalists

Congratulations to the Images of Research and Teaching 2022 winners and finalists. 


Lightbulb moment by Associate Professor Craig Styan

Lightbulb moment - 1st prize/research

Associate Professor Craig Styan - Program Director: Environmental Science and Geospatial Science, UniSA STEM

After decades of diving around Australia, I have a pretty good idea of what’s normally found where underwater. However, this Ascidian (or "seasquirt") was definitely out of place – not something I’d ever seen here before. Although looking a bit like a plant, this animal is a colony of filter-feeding zooids, joined at the base and growing by cloning additional zooids.

It's rapidly become common across marinas around Adelaide and I guessed it might be an alien species which had found its way to Australia from overseas, perhaps hitchhiking on the underside of a vessel. Checking under the microscope with taxonomic keys confirmed it was not one of our native Australian seasquirts but from the northern hemisphere and previously unrecorded here. So, an ‘aha!’ moment for me – perhaps fittingly – in the northern hemisphere this species (Clavelina lepadiformis) is known as the ‘Lightbulb seasquirt’ because of its distinctive appearance.

Whether the species now invades more pristine areas outside of marinas here is uncertain, but if it does, it could cause significant ecological and economic harm across southern Australia. Unfortunately, alien marine species like this are almost impossible to eradicate, with more research into control management, we might be able to slow their spread.

Making a splash with nanomedicine - 2nd prize/research

Dr Paul Joyce - UniSA Clinical & Health Sciences

Nanomedicine, like all science, is an art form. It requires careful synthesis of tiny particles that can be used in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease. In our lab, we are attempting to perfect the synthesis of these tiny particles for the treatment of a range of diseases, including cancer, obesity, COVID-19 and other chronic infections. By mastering this art form, we have the potential to "make a splash" in the healthcare system by improving clinical outcomes and eradicating disease.

Making a splash with nanomedicine
by Dr Paul Joyce

Illuminating cellular lipids in space by Dr Ian Johnson

Illuminating cellular lipids in space - 3rd prize/research

Dr Ian Johnson - Research Fellow, UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences

Ever advancing human ingenuity and technology reveal things about the universe we never imagined we would discover. In searching for how cells cause disease pathologies, new technologies enable abnormal cells to be exposed to abnormal conditions. Novel chemical compounds from colleagues and collaborators enable discoveries of cell biology that were not previously possible. In marrying novel compounds and conditions such as spaceflight to investigate cell behaviour through illuminating key cellular organelles, we are discovering new pathways in disease pathogenesis. Imaged here is a composite of the Milky Way, “illuminated” through ever-improving imaging technology, with the surrounding stars blended with micrographs of fluorescent lipid droplets within cells exposed to simulated microgravity that attempts to replicate spaceflight.


2D vs 3D different perspectives of transparency of medical data by Thomas Clarke

2D vs 3D different perspectives of transparency of medical data - Finalist/research

Thomas Clarke - PhD Candidate, UniSA STEM

Two different perspectives of 3D data visualisation of 3D medical data, on the left is a 3D polygonal model, and on the right is a direct 2D volume rendering of the same data (using the other side of her head). Both have similar settings and this image shows the difference between two different models of transparency in computer graphics.

How many fish can you see? by Dr Bin Guan

How many fish can you see? - Finalist/research

Dr Bin Guan - Research Associate, UniSA STEM

How many fish can you see? Can you also spot starfish? These microscale 'sea creatures' are defects on a thin film of gold (~ 50 nanometres) formed on a silicon substrate via a thin-film deposition technique called sputter coating. Some micrometre-sized spots of the gold film detach from the substrate, forming little bubbles. The 'sea creatures' are the result of wrinkling in these bubbles, probably induced by tension.

In my current project, the thin film of gold coating on silicon is to create a basic reflective layer for building a multi-layer photonic structure that is responsive to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The photonic structure can be used to detect VOCs from the atmosphere or from human sweat and breath in environment for health monitoring.

Outtakes of FEAST by Dr Kim Munro

Outtakes of FEAST - Finalist/research

Dr Kim Munro - Lecturer, UniSA Creative

'Outtakes of FEAST' shows a selection of candid moments from the behind-the-scenes documentary interviews with members of Adelaide’s LGBTQIA+ community. This work is part of a larger multidisciplinary research project, conducted by Jess Pacella, Kim Munro, Stuart Richards and Rosie Roberts, on the history and importance of the Feast Festival as it approaches its 25th birthday. Queer histories and remembrance in particular have long been subject to erasure and minimisation. For when it comes to remembrance its often said that first it will be a chapter in a history book, and then a paragraph, and then a footnote. These stories from the organisers and makers of the Feast Festival, the outrageous and the ordinary, should never be relegated to a footnote. Because what is remembered, lives.

Watch and hear the full video

Untitled (Red Onion Bags) by Patricia Jones

Untitled (Red Onion Bags) - Finalist/research

Patricia Jones - Bachelor of Contemporary Art, UniSA Creative

Plastic mesh is a remarkable material that deserves to have a new life; it is strong yet light, highly portable and comes in a range of vivid colours and textures. This artwork is constructed from plastic mesh bags originally designed for packaging onions. I chose them for this project as they offer great versatility in terms of their soft texture and rounded form. In creating this work, I focused on the simplicity of the textile itself and what it was naturally capable of. I also adhered to the principle of using a single colour to achieve the greatest impact. The finished artwork appears to possess organic qualities, thus presenting an ironic contrast to its fundamental physical composition.

Magnetite in waiting by Sandy Horne

Magnetite in waiting - Finalist/research

Sandy Horne - Project Officer: Research, UniSA Business

Our research into place-based industrial strategy included an examination of the regional industrial city of Whyalla on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. Since the 1940s, Whyalla's steelworks has been the centrepiece of the city's economy. When faced with the prospect of bankruptcy, the injection of new private investment and the embrace of renewable technologies, gave the city an opportunity to recover. While uncertainty remains for this regional city, the steelworks continues to operate. Magnetite is mined at the nearby Middleback Ranges and transported by rail to the steelworks. This photo shows piles of magnetite iron ore against a backdrop of the red roof of the steelworks.

Winners - Teaching

Drawing head and neck -
1st prize/teaching

Dr Arjun Burlakoti - Lecturer in Anatomy (Neuroanatomy), UniSA Allied Health and Human Performance

Learning the muscles of mastication, facial expression, and the neck and the blood vessels of the neck, might be challenging and time consuming. In this artwork, I have illustrated the anatomical structures accurately on our Anatomy Lab officer Candice Grubb using simple painting materials. 

Drawing head and neck
Dr Arjun Burlakoti

Virtual worlds by Harrison Buckland-Crook

Virtual worlds - 2nd prize/teaching and People's Choice Winner

Harrison Buckland-Crook - Bachelor of CREATIVE INDUSTRIES, UniSA Creative

This video is an excerpt of a walkthrough of a game level taken from a hypothetical title named 'CyberNoire', a neo-noir detective game where the latest crime to hit breaking news is by a sentient android, who has committed a murder out of rage, in a case of unrequited love for a human.

The environment takes place in a futuristic city where the player is located on what is referred to as a 'skydock' in the game, which gives hovercar drivers access to highrise buildings extending high above cloud level.

I made the level in Unreal Engine 5 as part of my second year Designing for Games course. I purposefully wanted to demonstrate the wireframe that computer graphics are generated upon, in which I superimposed real-time game footage. Using this method, my aim was to provide an insight into what game developers see, and how a game looks behind the scenes, so to speak.

Watch and hear the full video

The Rock Readers by Professor Tom Raimondo

The Rock Readers - 3rd prize/teaching

PROFESSOR Tom Raimondo - Professor in Geology and Geochemistry, UniSA STEM

The story of Earth is written in stone. To a geologist, elements are the letters, minerals are the words and rocks are the sentences that tell the story of 4.5 billion years of history beneath our feet. So to every new student of geology, there are fascinating secrets of deep time to be discovered by learning how to become a Rock Reader. This photo shows me, with students Jan Varga and Alex van Leeuwen, in the Harts Range, central Australia, catching up on a ripping rock yarn in the company of the bushman’s best friend (flies of course!)


Thinking outside of the box: a teaching self-portrait by Genevieve Hebart

Thinking outside of the box: a teaching self-portrait - Finalist/teaching

Genevieve Hebart - Master of Teaching (Early Childhood), UniSA Education Futures

What makes a simple, plain, yet iconic item, like the cardboard box so valuable in the eyes of a teacher or child? Its potential to be so much more! How much are we like that cardboard box? If we stay within its limits, sticking to what we know or what seems familiar or safe, we limit ourselves and our capacity to learn and to teach. Instead we should dare to step out into the unknown, to reach beyond the preconceived limits of our minds and embrace a journey of wild discovery and possibility, inspiring not only ourselves, but our students to do the same.

The shadow of ballet by Amy Steele

The shadow of ballet - Finalist/teaching

Amy Steele - Bachelor of Primary Education (Honours), UniSA Education Futures

As Albert Einstein once said, 'imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions’. As a future primary educator, I am privileged to experience the unpredictable, creative, and innocent imagination and perspectives of our little people. Unaware of the camera I took this video of a child completely immersed in her own imagination, a beautiful thing to witness.

Watch and hear the full video

Touching the world by Dr Antonella Strambi

Touching the world - Finalist/teaching

Dr Antonella Strambi - Academic Developer, Teaching Innovation Unit

During the 2018 school holidays, I took my children and one of their friends to visit MOD.IFY, UniSA MOD’s inaugural exhibition. The children were mesmerised by the interactive displays and loved seeing the changes they could make in the visualisations using their bodies. This photo is a reminder of how exciting learning can be when it is an embodied, whole-of-person experience. 

Seeing is believing -

Santhni Subramaniam - PhD Candidate, UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences

Biological processes are challenging to comprehend, simply because most occur on a scale that is too small to see with the human eye. With the aid of virtual reality, teaching of these challenging concepts at UniSA has been transformed where students of all ages can now immerse themselves within nanoscale biological processes – ultimately leading to solidification of knowledge and improved learning outcomes.

Seeing is believing by
Santhni Subramaniam

Future cultural burning advocates by Professor Delene Weber

Future cultural burning advocates - Finalist/teaching

Professor Delene Weber -  UniSA STEM

Students in Nukunu country learning the importance of cultural burinng.


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