Higher Degree Student News

Our postgraduate students have continued to excel in 2023. Our students have published over 26 research papers in peer-reviewed journals including Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, The Lancet Microbe, British Medical Journal Open, Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Journal of Transport and Health, Maturitas, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, Experimental Eye Research, Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, Frontiers in Virtual Reality, SLEEP, Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, British Journal of Ophthalmology, MedRxiv, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, Springer International Publishing, Trends in Parasitology, Science of The Total Environment, International Journal of Infectious Diseases, World Journal of Emergency Surgery, Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica and American Journal of Infection Control.

Our postgraduate students have also resumed presenting their research at international conferences, both online and in person, including the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (USA) Conference, the American Academy of Optometry (USA) Conference, Australasian Road Safety Conference (Australia), Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (USA), XXV Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research (Australia), International Headache Congress (Korea), 4th World Congress of Optometry (Australia), Optometry Doctorate Student Conference Optometry Doctorate Student Conference, British Contact Lens Association Conference (England), American Society for Microbiology (USA), 10th International Conference on Antimicrobial Peptides (Italy).

Thesis submissions and Awards

Our congratulations go to the following students who were awarded their PhD in 2023:  Jeremy Chiang (2 Feb), Nahida Akter (21 Feb), Rajendra Gyawali (22 Mar), Sultan Alotaibi (31 Mar), Madeeha Afzal (4 Apr), Viet Trinh (13 Apr), Mohammed Alnawmasi (30 May), Azadeh Tavakkolinasab (8 Jun) and Helen Nguyen (7 Dec).

We would also like to congratulate Chris Lim Stanley Wu, Binod Rayamajhee, Kofi Asiedu and Hari Peguda who submitted their PhD theses in 2023.

We also congratulate Jack Gordon and Daniel Rafla who were awarded their MPhil in 2023.


Congratulations also go to a long list of postgraduate students who received various awards throughout the year: 



Award/ Travel Grant/ Scholarship/ Programs / Positions Held, and Other Achievements


Helen Nguyen


ARSC 2023 Best Road Safety Poster (judged) Prize


Rene Cheung


UNSW Development and Research Training Grant
Rene Cheung


Vision Eye Institute Future Vision Foundation Grant

Elisa Wang


UNSW Development and Research Training Grant

Ha Duong Arc PGC Postgraduate Research Candidate Awards - Honorable Mention


Xiaona Ping


Asia Optometry Conference 2024 (in Taiwan) - the fully funded travel invitation
Nur Amalina Md Isa International Headache Society Travel Grant, Best Poster by the IHS Junior Group


Rehana Khan 


Associate Lecturer (VISN1111 - Geometrical and Physical Optics, VISN1221 - Visual Optics)
Rehana Khan  Diabetes Research Grant from the Elizabeth O’Beirne and Robert and Emmy Mather Trust Fund, SOVS, UNSW


Rehana Khan 


Fellowship in American Academy of Optometry
Rehana Khan  PhD Internship at Institute of Statistical and Data Science with top up scholarship


Rehana Khan 


Mentee, Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) Program
Rehana Khan  Accredited Mental Health First Aider
Rehana Khan  Beginning to Teach (BTT) program
Rehana Khan Foundation of University Teaching (FULT) Program
Fatima Iqbal  UNSW Development and Research Training Grant
Fatima Iqbal  Travel Fellowship for OMEGA23 from world council of Optometry 
Fatima Iqbal  Received Carer's fund from the UNSW Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee 

Sidra Sarwat


AAO Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses, and Refractive Technologies (CCLRT) William C. Ezell Fellow
Sidra Sarwat Best Presentation Award during annual Research Progress Review
Sidra Sarwat Associate Lecturer (VISN1111 - Geometrical and Physical Optics, VISN1221 - Visual Optics)
Natalie Eshow Associate Lecturer (OPTM3133 - Vision Science in the Consulting Room)


Binod Rayamajhee



HDR Development and Research Training Grant (DRTG), UNSW

Binod Rayamajhee


Conference Grant, Microbiology Society, UK


Binod Rayamajhee


Travel Grant, MDPI - Water
Binod Rayamajhee ‘ASM Nancy Mills Student Award (Finalist)’, The Australia Society for Microbiology, NSW-ACT Branch

Binod Rayamajhee


‘Tow Research Awards - Basic Science Division (Finalist)’, Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct


Binod Rayamajhee


Best Paper - Trends in Parasitology


Binod Rayamajhee


Future Leaders Mentoring Fellowship (FLMF) - ASM (American Society for Microbiology)
Binod Rayamajhee Arc PGC Postgraduate Research Candidate Awards - Honorable Mention
Samea Khan Lab Demonstrator at University of Sydney (MEDS2004/MIMI2x02: Microbes, Infection and Immunity)
Samea Khan Study Skills Support Mentor (PVC Equitable Learning Services UNSW


Samea Khan

Beginning to Teach (BTT) program
Samea Khan Foundation of University learning and Teaching (FULT) Program
Samea Khan Accredited Mental Health First Aider
Eman Alzghoul  2023 Australian Research Council Kathleen Fitzpatrick PhD Thinkers Program
Eman Alzghoul  BCLA Fellowship


Eman Alzghoul 


Grant to attend the 4th IACLE Congress meeting
Eman Alzghoul  HDR Development and Research Training Grant (DRTG), UNSW
Eman Alzghoul  Associate Lecturer (OPTM6411- Contact Lenses)


Eman Alzghoul 

3-minute thesis - People choice Award
Eman Alzghoul  Women in Maths and science Champion 
Rabia Mobeen ISER 2023 Travel Grant
Rabia Mobeen BCLA Da Vinci Award
Rabia Mobeen Irvin M. Beatrice Borish Award American Academy of Optometry


Annual postgraduate conference

The 2023 annual postgraduate conference was held on 7-11 August 2023 via a virtual platform. Thirty students presented their research findings across a range of topics including public health, myopia and glaucoma studies, dry eye disease, systemic disease and the eye, and close to 50 students were interviewed as part of the review process. The reviews are always a great opportunity to find out the array of research currently being undertaken by research students at SOVS. Many thanks to the following members of the SOVS community who served as panellists: Emeritus Professor Eric Papas, Dr Ajay Vijay, Associate Professor Maria Markoulli, Dr Simin Masoudi, Associate Professor Juno Kim, Associate Professor Sieu Khuu, Dr Nayuta Yoshioka, Associate Professor Nicole Carnt, Associate Professor Maitreyee Roy, Professor Isabelle Jalbert, Dr Kathleen Watt, Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton, Professor Mark Willcox, Dr Vanessa Honson, Dr Revathy Mani, Dr Muhammad Yasir, Dr Parthu Kalaiselvan and Associate Professor Michele Madigan. 

Congratulations to Sidra Sawat for the “Best presentation” award and to Sukanya Jaiswal for the runner-up award!

New Postgraduate Research Representatives

This year we thanked Eman Alzghoul, Binod Rayamajhee, Natalie Eshow and Zeeshan Akhtar for their service as postgraduate representatives and welcomed Pawan Baral, Rehana Khan, Thuy Ha Duong and Meenakshi Kumar (clockwise from top left) as the incoming representatives. 

Postgraduate Club

Postgrad club continues to run weekly on Thursdays from 4-5PM. A wide range of fantastic speakers and topics have been presented there this year including:

Date  Topic Presenter
9 March 2023
Library services for researchers Gemma Milton 
23 March 2023 Career Planning and Exploring options Michele Kenworthy - UNSW Employability
6 April 2023 Research organisation skills A/Prof Maria Markoulli
20 April 2023 Giving a great talk Prof Eric Papas


4 May 2023


Getting grants - tips for planning and writing Prof Mark Willcox
18 May 2023 Life after PhD, moving abroad and tips for early career researchers Dr Daisy Shu
1 June 2023
CV's (Resumes) and Selection Criteria Michele Kenworthy - UNSW Employability
15 June 2023 How to use Word A/Prof Maria Markoulli
29 June 2023 Final year PhD tips Dr Matt Trinh
13 July 2023 Research in Clinical Practice Dr Thomas Hong


27 July 2023


How to conduct a literature search UNSW Academic Services Librarians (via Gemma Milton)


24 August 2023


"Procrastination and tips for overcoming it" A/Prof Judith Flanagan
5 October 2023 Life as a post-doc: Opportunities and Challenges Dr Dinesh Subedi
19 October 2023 Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Ms Marianne Colbert
2 November 2023 How and why, you should review a paper Prof Mark Willcox
16 November 2023
How to manage your supervisors Scientia Prof Fiona Stapleton
30 November 2023 Co-design, community engagement and translation – enhancing the social impact of research Prof Lisa Keay
14 December 2023 AI and PG study Dr Nayuta Yoshioka



In 2020 SOVS enrolled its first MPhil students. The MPhil is a 1.5-year degree that incorporates coursework and a research project. The completion of an MPhil equates to honours equivalency. You can learn more about that here.

PhD opportunities

Are you interested in undertaking postgraduate research? Our school offers a structured postgraduate program consisting of in-house research seminars, developing students’ methodological, statistical and research skills, and access to the internationally recognised researchers, who provide their expertise, knowledge, advice, and guidance. Learn more about our postgraduate program.