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Meet UQ teachers

Meet our teachers

Get to know some of UQ's passionate and engaging teachers.
UQ people
Published 12 May, 2023  ·  8-minute read

All UQ teachers have a passion for their area of expertise and a drive to pass this onto their students. For our teachers, there's nothing more exciting than teaching students who want to dive into the unknown alongside them.

No matter the discipline or field of study, our passionate, engaging experts are ready to empower curious students with the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to face a future of unknowns.

UQ’s teachers are true experts, with extensive industry and research experience. In many cases, they've ‘written the book’ on their subject. They're highly sought-after specialists who continue to provide knowledge leadership for a better world.

They're also future-focused, which means they're committed to ensuring students gain the insights, experience, and practical know-how to tackle any problem. Not just content to give students the skills to get their first job, our teachers prepare students for any path, any future, and any possibility.

Dr Ammar Abdul Aziz: Agriculture

Ammar Abdul Aziz leans against a banister smiling with an architecturally designed learning space in the background

Dr Ammar Abdul Aziz has been many things in life – farmer, fund manager, researcher and teacher. 

But it’s his last role, as a teacher at UQ’s School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability, where he’s found his true calling.

Wide-ranging experiences in multiple industries have equipped Ammar to make a difference to students and the planet.

Meet Dr Ammar Abdul Aziz

Dr Sean Peel: Design

Dr Sean Peel stands in front of building at The University of Queensland

When many people think of design, they tend to focus on the end result – impeccably colour-coordinated rooms, shiny new products or detailed illustrations. But according to UQ Associate Lecturer Dr Sean Peel, the most important aspect of design is the process of finding problems. 

Sean has dedicated his career as a designer to this pursuit of finding the right problems to solve – the ones that will create meaningful change in the lives of others.

Meet Dr Sean Peel

Professor Alastair Blanshard: Classics and Ancient History

Professor Alastair Blanshard stands smiling in front of an architecturally designed building

Professor Alastair Blanshard’s career did not start off purely in humanities.

His undergraduate degree was actually in law. His fascinating personal journey lends him the insight that passion should be the main driver in your career.

Alastair focuses on teaching his students to be critical thinkers, as it’s a transferable skillset that transcends industries and jobs.

Meet Professor Alastair Blanshard

Dr Sebastian Kaempf: Peace and Conflict

Dr Sebastian Kaempf standing in front of UQ building

Growing up in Germany, Dr Sebastian Kaempf found that people didn’t want to speak about war.

When Sebastian first learned about the history of conflict, it completely reshaped his worldview.

Today, he’s dedicated to helping the next generation understand the politics of conflict in order to promote peace. 

Meet Dr Sebastian Kaempf

Professor Lorraine Mazerolle: Criminology and Justice

Lorraine Mazerolle leans against a reflective surface wearing a green jacket and smiling at the camera

For criminology expert Professor Lorraine Mazerolle, the most rewarding part of being a teacher is seeing her students have an ‘aha’ moment when they truly understand something new.

Lorraine loves bringing real crime stories to life in the classroom, not just from her 30-year career, but with industry experts from police, corrections and courts.

Meet Professor Lorraine Mazerolle

Professor Tracey Bunda: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Indigenous studies Professor Tracey Bunda stands smiling at the camera with her arms crossed, in front of glass walls that look out over UQ St Lucia campus

As Professor of Indigenous Education, Tracey Bunda helps students see how understanding Indigenous knowledges and cultures can complement their other studies, helping them become the thoughtful leaders of tomorrow.

Tracey finds joy in teaching because it’s not just a learning experience for her students, but for her as well.

Meet Professor Tracey Bunda

Lecturer Debbie Jeffery: Commerce

Debbie Jeffery sits on a blue lounge chair smiling

UQ Lecturer Debbie Jeffery brings a wealth of international industry experience to her classrooms, but it’s her unique approach to teaching that makes her classes so engaging, enjoyable and educational.

Debbie's interactive style and innovative use of technology prepare her students with both the hard and soft skills for the future workforce.

Meet Lecturer Debbie Jeffery

Associate Professor Nicholas Carah: Communication

UQ Communication Associate Professor Nicholas Carah stands smiling with his arms crossed in front of a wooden panelled wall

Nicholas Carah, Director of Digital Cultures and Societies, has a highly collaborative teaching approach, which he uses to prepare students for the workplace. 

Nic believes communication graduates have the power to help people see each other and their lives as a shared endeavour.

Meet Associate Professor Nicholas Carah

Professor Ryan Ko: Cyber Security

Ryan Ko

Professor Ryan Ko is a shining example of how rewarding it is to be curious in your field.

When he studied computer science in his undergraduate degree, Ryan never imagined he’d be helping protect the cyber privacy of millions of people.

His proudest moments in his teaching career are those where students with no background in computer science graduate with the same burning passion and curiosity as him.

Meet Professor Ryan Ko

Dr Paul Vrbik: Computer Science

Computer science expert Dr Paul Vbrik

Dr Paul Vrbik’s path to becoming a computer scientist began back in high school, where he would program his computer to solve maths problems for his homework.

Paul’s teachers noticed his proclivity for mathematical computing and pushed him in that direction following high school. And now he's a lecturer in UQ’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Meet Dr Paul Vrbik

Dr Jiwon Kim: Engineering and Computing

Dr Jiwon Kim sits on a bench in front of a concrete wall smiling

A childhood love of Lego led Dr Jiwon Kim to become an expert in transport engineering.

She loves seeing concepts come to life and is passionate about sharing these with her students.

Jiwon knows being up-to-date with the latest systems and technologies is incredibly important, so she ensures her students, the engineers of the future, are prepared with this digital literacy.

Meet Dr Jiwon Kim

Dr Joe Gattas: Civil Engineering

UQ Senior Lecturer Joe Gattas stands in a classroom beside a window look out over greenery

Dr Joe Gattas believes user-centred design is the future of civil engineering.

His keen sense of curiosity has seen him discover new ways to design cities with people and the environment in mind.

Joe acknowledges that his own expertise has developed thanks to his students. His students have challenged his thinking, and their questions have resulted in collaborative research.

Meet Dr Joe Gattas

Dr Pauline Pounds: Mechatronic Engineering

Dr Pauline Pounds holds her Tiny Giant Robot prototype

Dr Pauline Pounds has been fascinated by robots from an early age. She's dedicated to creating machines that can make the world more efficient, inclusive and, well, better.

Pauline wants to take her students on this journey with her, because in her view, collaboration is the key to solving exciting and challenging problems with mechatronics. 

Meet Dr Pauline Pounds

Dr Marnee Shay: Teaching

Dr Marnee Shay stands in front of UQ's icon sandstone cloisters

From youth work to teaching and now research, Dr Marnee Shay knows a thing or two about what makes young people tick – and what doesn’t.

Marnee has dedicated most of her career to helping students feel more engaged and involved in their education and is now using her experiences to inform her research.

Meet Dr Marnee Shay

Dr Simone Smala: Education

Dr Simone Smala stands smiling in front of a light-filled staircase

Dr Simone Smala has taught in Australian schools for three decades.

Her interest in finding out more about what education means for our world and society led her to a research project focused on uncovering how learners feel at different stages of the learning process.

Simone believes the key to excellent teaching is to connect with individual students and their personal stories.

Meet Dr Simone Smala

Associate Lecturer Paul Treschman: Health, Sport and Education

Paul Treschman stands in front of a concrete wall smiling

For Associate Lecturer Paul Treschman, understanding how people flourish in different environments is the key to building safe, supportive settings for students to learn.

Paul understands that everyone learns differently, and he builds this into his teaching so each individual can excel.

Meet Associate Lecturer Paul Treschman

Associate Professor Ron Johnstone: Environmental Science

Ron Johnstone

Drawing from his extensive experience nurturing the coastal and marine ecosystems of more than 30 countries, Associate Professor Ron Johnstone knows that what his students learn will have an impact on the future of the planet.

Meet Associate Professor Ron Johnstone

Professor Stuart Carney: Medicine

Professor Stuart Carney, Dean of UQ Medical School stands smiling with his arms crossed

Professor Stuart Carney is a firm believer in pushing today’s medical boundaries for the future of medicine.

He's passionate about advocating for disadvantaged people, and hopes all of UQ’s medical students take that passion with them when they graduate.

By asking the hard questions and not accepting the status quo, Stuart knows that UQ produces some of the best medical graduates in Australia.

Meet Professor Stuart Carney

Professor Karen Healy: Social Work

Professor Karen Healy stands smiling in front of a wall edged in green plants

Professor Karen Healy has a 'fire in her belly' for preparing her social work students for the situations they will encounter in their careers.

Karen wants to ensure UQ graduates are great practitioners who are empowered to create change and make a positive impact in the world.

Meet Professor Karen Healy

Associate Professor Simon Reid: Public Health

Simon Reid leans against a banister with a glass staircase in the background

The term ‘zoonotic’ may not have been widely known before the COVID-19 crisis, but for UQ public health expert Simon Reid, discovering how diseases jump from animals to humans – and what to do to minimise the risk, has been the focus of his research for years.

As a teacher, seeing his students understand the complex relationship between place, person and situation is a satisfying milestone.

Meet Associate Professor Simon Reid

Associate Professor Karen Whitfield: Pharmacy

Dr Karen Whitfield

An award-winning registered pharmacist, Associate Professor Karen Whitfield’s passion for teaching and wealth of experience are benefiting her students, the pharmacy workforce, and patients.

Meet Dr Karen Whitfield

Dr Nicole Stormon: Dentistry

Dr Nicole Stormon shows dental products to patients

An interest in children’s oral health and the dental health system is what fuels UQ Lecturer Dr Nicole Stormon’s research and role as an oral health therapist. Nicole endeavours to investigate and implement ways to change dentistry to help all Australians access care, regardless of their background.

Meet Dr Nicole Stormon

Dr Brooke-Mai Whelan: Speech Pathology

Dr Brooke Mai-Whelan

Dr Brooke-Mai Whelan, the Program Director of UQ’s Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) has a passion for post-brain-injury communication rehabilitation. She’s driving research supporting people with communication disabilities and ensuring tomorrow’s speech pathologists are taught with the patient in mind.

Meet Dr Brooke-Mai Whelan

Dr Emma Crawford: Occupational Therapy

Dr Emma Crawford shows flashcards to children

As a Paediatric Occupational Therapist and a Lecturer in UQ’s Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours), Dr Emma Crawford has a passion for helping others.

With a focus on culturally responsive practice and addressing societal disadvantage, Emma helps ensure our occupational therapy students are taught to include compassion and empathy in their skillset.

Meet Dr Emma Crawford

Dr James Kirby: Psychology

Dr James Kirby sits at his desk in front of computer screens

Compassion science may not be a term that’s thrown around often, but for Dr James Kirby, a Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in UQ’s Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), it’s an important one.

His research centres on compassion focused approaches in therapy, and he’s committed to ensuring our psychology students are taught to include compassion and empathy in their skillset.

Meet Dr James Kirby

Dr Shelly Keating: Clinical Exercise Physiology

Meet our teachers - Dr Shelley Keating

With a focus on ‘bringing the clinic to the classroom’, Shelley helps ensure her students understand the complexities of living with a chronic health condition and are taught to use this understanding as a basis for personalised exercise intervention.

Meet Dr Shelley Keating

Dr Roma Forbes: Physiotherapy

Meet the expert, Dr Roma Forbes

Roma's passion for physiotherapy ensures her students are well prepared for their future careers. By exposing them to real cases and simulated patient experiences, they gain valuable insights into what they can expect on the job.

Her research also equips employers with the necessary tools to support new graduates in a way that benefits the students’ careers and the healthcare needs of the community.

Meet Dr Roma Forbes

Associate Professor Sean Tweedy: Human Movement Studies

UQ Sean Tweedy

Associate Professor Sean Tweedy has been working in physical activity roles since he was 19. He's passionate about making sport inclusive for people of all abilities. 

From undergrads to PhD candidates, he wants to share this passion with others, so they too can help enhance the sporting landscape to support and encourage a love for physical activity amongst people with disabilities.

Meet Associate Professor Sean Tweedy

Associate Professor Steven Rynne: Sports Coaching

Sports coaching expert

Dr Steven Rynne's CV ranges from health and physical education teacher and youth sports coach to researcher and lecturer in high performance coaching. So, it's no surprise he knows a thing or two about what makes a good sports coach and the key ingredients for athletic success.

Steven has dedicated his entire career to promoting positive sporting experiences. He now educates coaches while advancing research on coach learning.

Meet Associate Professor Steven Rynne

Dr Norman Ng: Health and Physical Education

Health expert Dr Norman Ng

Dr Norman Ng has worn many hats throughout his life, from personal trainer and auxiliary teacher, to military officer, health promotion officer, researcher, and teacher. 

However, it's his current role as a teacher of health, physical education, and interprofessional healthcare education at UQ where he has found his true calling.

Meet Dr Norman Ng

Dr Chris Rinke: Microbiology

Dr Chris Rinke leans against a sandstone building in UQ St Lucia's Great Court with green hedges in the background

Could insects and microbes hold the solution to the world’s plastic waste crisis? They just might – especially with people like Senior Lecturer Dr Chris Rinke researching them.

From bacteria in Brisbane’s ‘Brown Snake’ river to microbial ‘dark matter’, Chris is fascinated by how the smallest organisms play one of the largest roles in Earth’s history.

Meet Dr Chris Rinke

Dr Sara Davies: Mathematics

Dr Sara Davies (née Herke) sits in front of a wood panelled wall

One of the most important things that Dr Sara Davies hopes to teach her students is that mathematics is a fascinating field that can be applied to every single industry in today’s society.

Sara is passionate about empowering students to have the courage to ask questions and the confidence to make mistakes and learn from them. She believes that this curiosity is where the breakthroughs in mathematical research happen.

Meet Dr Sara Davies

No matter what path you take at UQ, you'll learn from inspiring and outstanding teachers every step of the way. Discover what else awaits you when you undertake undergraduate study with us.

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