Africa experts

Murdoch University is committed to innovation and high quality higher education that can be applied at a global level. For many years, Murdoch has shown strong research commitment to, and capacity in, the continent of Africa. Broad and diverse engagement has been developed in health, social justice/governance, agriculture (food security), security/counter-terrorism, minerals/environment, aid effectiveness, water, arts and culture.

Murdoch’s eminent and internationally respected researchers are collaborating with African industry, academic institutions, government agencies and NGO's and sharing expertise and knowledge for mutual benefit. Murdoch gains advantage by the opportunity to reflect, understand and build upon the dynamism in Africa today.

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Professor Sam Makinda

Professor Sam Makinda

Security, terrorism and counter-terrorism

Professor Sam Makinda is the Professor of International Relations and Security Studies at Murdoch University. He is a member of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and previously served as a member of the Australian Foreign Minister’s National Consultative Committee for International Security Issues. Prior to this, Professor Makinda worked as a foreign affairs analyst in the Parliamentary Research Service. In 2011, Kenya’s President awarded him one of the highest civilian medals, Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS), for his ‘distinguished service rendered to the nation’.

In 2005, Professor Makinda established Murdoch University’s Security, Terrorism and Counterterrorism studies program. In his academic career, he has been a researcher at the Brookings Institution (Washington, DC), the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London), the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (Jakarta). He has authored four books and more than 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters. Earlier in his career, Professor Makinda worked as a journalist with Kenya’s The Weekly Review and later as an editor with the Daily Nation.
Associate Professor Martin Mhando

Associate Professor Martin Mhando

Filmmaking and African cinema

Dr Martin Mhando is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Media, Communication and Culture. He is a filmmaker with an award-winning feature and documentary films to his credit.

Martin’s areas of research include documentary theory, film production praxis, African cinema, world cinema and Indigenous knowledge. He often serves on festival juries and has also served as curator of international festivals.

A recent project will allow audiences in Rwanda and Tanzania to see a program of Indigenous films from Western Australia. The program of features, documentaries and shorts, including works from Murdoch University’s creative practitioners, will screen at both the Rwandan and Zanzibar international film festivals. This project recognises Murdoch University’s ongoing research commitment to, and capacity building in, the East African region."

Martin’s awards and achievements include:
• Recipient of Zeze Award 2006- in Tanzania- for contribution to the arts in Tanzania
• Winner of The Paul Robeson Award (2004) for the film Maangamizi for Excellence in Independent filmmaking
• Nominated for the Academy Award (Foreign Film Section) 2001 for film Maangamizi.
Dr Treena Burgess

Dr Treena Burgess

Fungal genetics, forest biosecurity, forest pathology and natural ecosystem health

Dr Treena Burgess is a Senior Lecturer in Plant Sciences at Murdoch’s School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology and a Project participant in the Centre of Excellence for Climate Change, Woodland and Forest Health. In 1999-2000, Treena went to South Africa and spent a two year post-doc at the Forestry and Agriculture Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

The project proved to be very successful and built the foundations for what has subsequently been extensive collaboration in the fields of forest biosecurity, fungal molecular taxonomy and population genetics. FABI is a world-renowned institute directed by Professor Mike Wingfield, a recognised international leader in forest and tree pathology.

Treena has developed a research project based on forest biosecurity and continues to work closely with FABI where she holds an adjunct position at the University of Pretoria. She visits FABI each year, and several of her Australian students have conducted research there. To date she has held two ARC Discovery grants with Mike Wingfield, published 38 papers and been on the advisory panel of seven PhD students at FABI. This significant collaboration with a South African research institute has been far reaching and mutually beneficial.
Professor Peter May

Emeritus Professor Peter May

Hydrometallurgy, extractive metallurgy

Emeritus Professor Peter May's research is centred on how metal ions and other substances react in water, where he is acknowledged as an international expert with his work attracting considerable world-wide attention. His studies focus both on the fundamental chemistry of aqueous solutions, and on practical problems of global importance, including those concerning industrial process (e.g. alumina refining), the environment (e.g. ocean acidification) and medicine (e.g. kidney-stone formation).

He has developed frequently-cited modelling software packages that use large databases of existing information in the field together with new experimental measurements to resolve important gaps in knowledge. Over his distinguished career, he has supervised over 30 PhD students and has over 200 publications in internationally ranked scientific books and journals.

Emeritus Professor May has led a major research project on Cyanide Waste Management in collaboration with Mintek and The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of South Africa.
Simon Mallal

Professor Simon Mallal

HIV, AIDS, clinical immunology, infectious diseases, vaccine design

Professor Simon Mallal is Director of the Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Murdoch University and a Clinical Immunologist and Immunopathologist at Royal Perth Hospital.

He has had a longstanding research interest in the Major Histocompatibility Complex and genetic influences on clinical outcomes in HIV and other diseases. More recently he has focussed on viral adaptation to HLA-restricted immune responses and the implications of this for HIV vaccine immunogen design.

His research group also study the genetics and pathogenesis of hypersensitivity to anti-HIV drugs such as abacavir and nevirapine and the long-term complications of anti-retroviral therapy with a particular focus on mitochondrial toxicity and subcutaneous fat wasting. The studies on HIV vaccine design, drug hypersensitivity and fat wasting have been extended to and reproduced in Ethiopian and South African patients who have a different genetic background and are infected with different variants of HIV than are seen elsewhere.

Professor John Howieson

Professor John Howieson

Sustainable agriculture, nitrogen fixation in legumes

Professor John Howieson is an internationally recognised expert in sustainable agriculture, specialising in the nitrogen fixation of legume crops. His research interests include the selection and development of root nodule bacteria as commercial inoculants for agricultural legumes, and the selection of annual and perennial legumes for sustainable agriculture. He has led the discovery program for several new pasture and forage legumes in Australian agriculture.

Currently he is on the steering committee for the project “N2Africa: Putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers in Africa”. This US$20 million program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that sees legume science as a key to increasing food security in Africa and Murdoch University as playing a vital and key role in delivering that security.

Professor Howieson and team are also involved in two other ACIAR-funded projects in Africa, ECCAL –Eastern Cape Arable Lands and SIMLESA –Sustainable Implementation of Legumes in Maize Cropping Systems, led through the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, CIMMYT, with a node at Murdoch.
Aleks Nikoloski

Associate Professor Trish Fleming

Physiology, behavioural ecology and wildlife conservation

Associate Professor Trish Flemingis a wildlife biologist and is part of – Western Australian researchers investigating how animals respond to human presence across urban, agricultural and natural landscapes, and contribute to human quality of life.

Her research focuses on translational biology, where improving understanding of the physiology and behaviour of vertebrates has conservation or welfare implications and there is a direct interaction between experimental questions and the application of this research. She is more interested in the questions than the organisms, and my research has tested a wide range of scientific hypotheses using organisms from crickets through to giraffes.

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Phone: 08 9360 2474
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