Seabirds, social housing & stomach problems: SGS Research Showcase winners announced

A seabird restoration poster, an image representing social housing, and an investigation into alternative methods for gastric ablation took out the top prizes at the SGS Research Showcase 2023.

L-R: Ashton Matthee, Annabelle Cranswick, Simone Watkins, Mary Spring, Michael Fox, Louis Sartain, Xue Bai, Isabella Zeng & Azra Ahamed.

The University of Auckland community came together to celebrate postgraduate research excellence this week, with staff, students and supporters gathering to explore the fascinating research on display for the School of Graduate Studies Research Showcase 2023.

Prizes were awarded to the top-scorers and People’s Choice winners in the three categories: Academic posters, research images and Pecha Kucha presentations.

Bringing Burrowing seabirds back: Ecological restoration on mainland Aotearoa

Faculty of Science PhD candidate Michael Fox won the most popular category, Academic Posters, with his research on seabird restoration in New Zealand. 

“Since I was young I’ve always had a passion for animals, the environment and helping people,” Michael says. “I hope that my research will help conservationists –  both professional and amateur – better protect our native species and work towards restoring New Zealand’s environment for our rangatahi.”

Michael says the showcase provided an opportunity to share his research with a wider audience.

“I think one of the best things we can do as conservationists is engage in science communication and work towards transdisciplinary research to protect our environment. The SGS Research Showcase is perfect for both of these goals: communicating research and meeting others communicating their research – it’s a win-win!”

Unveiling the dichotomy: Aspirations and realities in social housing

Top prize in the research images category went to Creative Arts and Industries doctoral candidate Azra Ahamed, whose impactful image portrayed the contrast between aspiration and reality in social housing.

“My research area on social housing and social sustainability was inspired by the pressing housing issues faced by marginalised communities in India. I aim to contribute to the development of socially sustainable housing solutions that prioritise social well-being, and foster a more inclusive and equitable urban environment for the underprivileged population in India.

“I believe, behind every housing issue, there is a human story waiting to be heard, a life struggling for the basic dignity of a safe and stable home. Our collective challenge is not merely to build houses but to construct the very foundation of a socially sustainable society. To address this, we must question not only the structures we build, but also the structures of our society.”

Research Image category results

Azra Ahamed (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries) | Unveiling the Dichotomy: Aspirations and Realities in Social Housing​

Isabella Zeng (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries) | Play Re-Identification Machine​

People’s Choice

Qun Ma (Faculty of Education and Social Work) | A Teachers' Professional Identity System

L-R: Ashton Matthee, Michael Fox & Azra Ahamed

Fixing stomach problems with ablation

First place in the Pecha Kucha category went to Auckland Bioengineering Institute PhD candidate Ashton Matthee, whose research is investigating alternative methods for gastric ablation. 

“Through my research, I hope to show that ablation is both effective and safe for use in the stomach. This would be a big step moving this technique forward into hopefully human trials. I chose this project as it has implications for improving the health of so many people and that is a great motivator.”

“Presenting my research at the SGS Research Showcase was a chance to tell people about what I do and why it is important. The more I can tell people about my research, the more impact it can have. It is also great to see and hear about other students’ research and the impacts they are making in other fields.”

Pecha Kucha category results

Ashton Matthee (Auckland Bioengineering Institute) | Fixing Stomach Problems With Ablation

Woroud Alzaher (Liggins Institute) | Ageing well with cerebral palsy

People's Choice
Joevy Lim (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences) | Eye Melanoma in Aotearoa

Special mentions

Research impact prizes

  • Ira Mautner (Faculty of Science)
  • Baskoro Laksitoadi (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries​)
  • Azra Ahamed (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries​)
  • Olivia Martin (Faculty of Science)

Design prizes

  • Louis Sartain (Faculty of Arts)
  • Chloe Leong (Faculty of Science)
  • Teigan Tarapei (Faculty of Science)

Provisional candidate prizes

  • Mary Spring (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences)
  • Rubina Bogati (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences)
  • Xue Bai (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries​)

Top ten posters

  • Claire Dunham (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences)
  • Simone Watkins (Liggins​ Institute)
  • Annabelle Cranswick (Faculty of Science)
  • ​Michael Fox (Faculty of Science)
  • Inka Pleiss (Faculty of Science)
  • Molly Turpin (Faculty of Science)
  • Julia Imo (Auckland Bioengineering Institute)
  • Ella Bayliss (Faculty of Science)
  • Lauren Hemara (Faculty of Science)
  • Chetan Shah (Business School)

Top five images

  • Mary Spring (Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences​)
  • Subin Rahman (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries)
  • Xue Bai (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries​)
  • Azra Ahamed (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries​)
  • Isabella Zeng (Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries)

View the virtual exhibition

Click the button below to explore the SGS Research Showcase exhibition online.