Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Thesis title: Competency in general surgical training

Topic: Surgical training and colorectal surgeons

Collaboration: Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe), Department of Colorectal Surgery at RPA

Publications arising from this thesis:

  • Zahid A, Hong J, Young C. Surgical supervisor feedback affects performance: A blinded randomized study. Cureus, 2017. 9(5), e1276. DOI: 10.7759/cureus.1276.
  • Zahid A, Hong J, Young C. Coaching experts: Applications to surgeons and continuing professional development. Surgical Innovation, 2018. 25(1), p77-80. DOI: 10.1177/1553350617751450.
  • Zahid A, Rajan V, Hong J, Young C. Surgical competencies required in newly commencing colorectal surgeons: An educational and training spectrum. Medical Science Educator, 2020. 30(3), p1043-1047. DOI: 10.1007/s40670-020-01005-z.
  • Zahid A, Miskovic D. Proctorship in minimally invasive colorectal surgery. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, 2021. 34(3), p186-193. DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1722765.



Thesis title: Decision-making in total knee arthroplasty

Topic: Decision-making, knee arthroplasty and osteoarthritis

Collaboration: Orthopaedic Department, The University of Sydney, Bond University, RPA Institute of Academic Surgery

Mr Karunaratne is a physiotherapist and early career researcher whose thesis will focus on decision-making in patients and healthcare providers when considering the need for total knee arthroplasty by: (i) Evaluating the outcomes of surgeon decision-making for patients presenting seeking an opinion regarding knee arthroplasty; (ii) Identifying and ranking the primary objectives patients have prior to knee arthroplasty and evaluating if health professionals are able to recognise this hierarchy of patient goals; (iii) Developing an evidence-based decision-making tool based on the view of patients and healthcare professionals; and (iv) Measuring the effectiveness of the designed tool in the decision-making process for patients considering knee arthroplasty.


Publications arising from this thesis:

  • Karunaratne S, Harris I, Trevena L, Horsley M, Fajardo M, Solomon M. Online decision aids for knee arthroplasty: An environmental scan. JBJS Reviews, 2021. 9(4), e20.000888. DOI: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.20.00088.
  • Karunaratne S, Harris I, Trevena L, Horsley M, Solomon M. Observing the use of knee arthroplasty appropriateness tools in clinical practice: Do appropriateness criteria tools predict surgeon decision-making? Osteoarthritis Cartilage, 2021. 29(9), p1275-1281. DOI: 10.1016/j.joca.2021.06.009.



Thesis title: Addressing treatment decision-making variation in patients with locally advanced and recurrent rectal cancer

Topic: Decision-making and pelvic exenteration

Collaboration: Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe), Department of Colorectal Surgery at RPA, RPA Institute of Academic Surgery

Dr Brown is a general surgery registrar whose thesis focus will focus on addressing variation in treatment decision-making in patients with locally advanced or recurrent rectal cancer in Australia by: (i) Identifying optimal outcomes of surgery for locally advanced and recurrent rectal cancer; (ii) Developing an evidence-based surgical tool which predicts these outcomes, while incorporating the views of cancer specialists, patients and carers; (iii) Measuring effectiveness-implementation of the final surgical tool which will be used to inform best practice; and (iv) Implementing the tool to clinical practice and evaluating its effectiveness.




Thesis title: New era of diagnosis and treatment of liver and pancreatic tumours: Application with artificial intelligence innovation

Topic: Decision-making, liver surgery, pancreas surgery and artificial intelligence

Collaboration: Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe), Upper Gastrointestinal Department, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

Dr Han is an upper gastrointestinal fellow at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse whose thesis will focus on improving the efficiency and accuracy of surgeon and physician’s decision-making process with the diagnosis of tumour, differentiation from benign to malignant lesions, treatments planning and prediction of survival outcome after surgery. This will be achieved by: (i) Developing algorithms in making diagnosis of liver and pancreas tumour using triple phase CT scan of abdomen and pelvis; and (ii) Developing a model to accurately predict the outcome of the patient after surgery by using radiological, clinical and histopathological data.




Thesis title: A collaborative proteomics study to identify prognostic and predictive biomarkers of disease behaviour and therapeutic options in sarcoma

Topic: Retroperitoneal sarcoma, proteomics and patient outcomes

Collaboration: Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe), Orthopaedic Department, Medical Oncology Department, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

Dr Connolly is a medical oncologist at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse whose thesis will focus on aiding in developing a better understanding of the basic biology of sarcomas and their disease causation and progression. The goal will be to develop specific therapies for each phenotype and aid in the stratification of patients for various treatment options. Three main outcomes will be pursued in this thesis: (i) Assist with identifying the optimal treatment that can be given without delay; (ii) Assist with guiding and focusing research to identify mechanisms amenable to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for phenotypes that are non- responsive to conventional treatments; and (iii) Assist in ensuring patients are informed of the likely outcome of their disease and expected quality of life.




Thesis title: The role of dual mobility total hip replacement in the management of femoral neck fractures in older patients: Reducing the risk of prosthetic dislocation

Topic: Neck of femur fractures, prostheses and hip arthroplasty

Collaboration: Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe), Orthopaedic Department, Australian Orthopaedic Association

Dr Farey is an orthopaedic surgery registrar whose thesis will focus on compare the effectiveness of dual mobility cup to conventional total hip arthroplasty for femoral neck fracture in reducing the risk of hip dislocation. This is being performed through a registry-nested cluster randomised trial which will also: (i) Compare the revision rates (for dislocation and for any reason) at one, two and five years post-operatively; (ii) Determine the cost-effectiveness of using DMC compared to conventional total hip arthroplasty in reducing the risk of hip dislocation in a hip fracture population; and (iii) Compare the mortality between groups at 30 days, 120 days, and then at one, two and five years post-operatively.




Thesis title: Communicate Study  – Using quantitative analysis to determine if providing culturally safe health practices can improve health service outcomes for First Nations people

Topic: Health Economics, Global and Tropical Health, Priority populations

Collaboration: Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe), Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin university, SLHD Performance Unit

Christina is currently a Performance Analyst and Decision Support Officer with the Performance Monitoring, Systems Improvement and Innovation Unit with SLHD. She has previously worked as the Clinical Performance Manager and as the Robotics Research Officer all within SLHD. The research comprising  this study will primarily be using quantitative methodologies, using large data sets to link and investigate hospital outcomes for First Nations patients. This will also evaluate the use of Aboriginal interpreters through the development of key performance indicators (KPIs), and determine the cost benefit of having an Aboriginal interpreter program within a public hospital. This study is Darwin based and there are plans to replicate this study locally.




Master of Philosophy (MPhiL)

Dr Celine Garrett – Early onset colorectal cancer epidemiology surgical outcomes survival and quality of life after surgery

Dr Nikeith John – Artificial intelligence in cochlear implantation outcomes

Dr Peter Lee – Retroperitoneal sarcoma clinical outcomes at RPA and systematic review

Dr Michael Lee – A synthetic nanopetide based gel for haemostasis synechiae prevention and enhanced wound healing in nasal surgery

Dr Naomi Niles – Patient preferences for auricular reconstruction and hearing habilitation in microtia

Dr Saissan Rajendran – Vascular reconstruction with major pelvic and retroperitoneal malignancy resection

Dr Jacob Waller – Outcomes following pelvic exenteration with sacrectomy for recurrent rectal cancer

Dr Kamil Jakub Wegrecki – Applying machine learning technology to the study of Meniere’s disease in Australia

Dr Elinor Tan – Retrospective analyses on perioperative outcomes of elderly patients undergoing surgical resection for upper gastrointestinal tumours

Dr Belinda Errington – SNS effect on colonic transit

Dr Hugh Giddings – Surgical outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease in Australia

Mr Nehemias de la Cruz – Patient-reported importance of pre-operative education regarding post-operative erectile function in men undergoing pelvic exenteration surgery

Dr Charlotte Johnstone – The management of pain for patients undergoing pelvic exenteration surgery


Doctor of Medicine (MD)

Mr Daniel Kasunic – Outcomes of varicocele embolisation at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (Systematic review)

Mr Bernard K Le – Cohort study: Diaphragmatic stripping with full thickness resection, in terms of what proportion have a symptomatic pleural effusion that requires draining

Ms Nishka A Pinto– Cohort study: Neoadjuvant + adjuvant therapy in CRS+HIPEC

Mr Aidan T Chow – Cohort study: Looking at decision regret, quality of life following prostate cancer surgery.

Mr Song Kang – Cohort study: MRI as a predictor of SVI (ROSE Study) – Investigating predictors of seminal vesical invasion (SVI)

Mr Gerald P Tjahyadi – Cohort study: The environmental impact of robotic surgery observational study

Mr Mitchell J Crebert – Systematic review ± meta-analysis: Patient Reported Outcomes in Megaprostheses for Non-oncological indications

Ms Jennifer K L Vu – Cohort Study: Patient and carer views Prehabilitation

Mr Tian Y Chen – Cohort Study: Prolonged length of stay in UGI + systematic review