South Australian

Tall Poppy of the Year

Congratulations to the 2019 Tall Poppy of the Year finalists.

Associate Professor Sarah Cohen-Woods


Flinders University

Research Field: Psychology, Neuroscience

While we know that behaviours, including psychological disorders, are heritable, we know this is also not deterministic. Just because we have a genetic risk for depression does not mean we will become depressed.


Associate Professor Cohen-Woods’ research works on understanding how nurture influences our nature by studying how environments can influence genetic predisposition and gene expression, influencing psychological outcomes. Her research investigates immunogenetic risks for depression moderated by childhood maltreatment, and epigenetic variation associated with chronic early-life adversity, and whether this mediates a relationship of poor mental health.


Associate Professor Cohen-Woods’ extensive public engagement has spanned public talks across a range of groups, radio and television interviews, advocating for science at the Australian Parliament, and numerous visits to primary and secondary schools.


She was awarded her PhD from King’s College London in 2008, and is currently an Associate Professor at Flinders University.


Dr Oren Griffiths


Flinders University

Research Field: Psychology

The world is a complex place and, while the brain can only concentrate on a few things at once, it is continuously and passively monitoring the surrounding environment for change. The disruption of these “pre-attentive” processes, subtle, low-level components of attention, are disrupted in people with schizophrenia or Parkinson’s.


Dr Griffiths’ research studies the interactions between knowledge, uncertainty and selective attention. He is currently focusing on using electrophysiological measures to study pre-attentive and covert attentional processes.


His science communication has included many media interviews and community presentations, as well as the development of a device for the BrainyBee program, which allowed students to compare neural activity while completing puzzles.


Dr Griffiths received his PhD from the University of New South Wales in 2009, and is currently a lecturer at Flinders University.

Dr Nigel Rogasch

The University of Adelaide & SAHMRI

Research Field: Neuroscience

Schizophrenia is associated with many cognitive defects closely linked to many poor functional outcomes. Many of these debilitating symptoms, including impaired memory and inability to concentrate, currently have no effective treatments.


Dr Rogasch’s research combines non-invasive brain stimulation and neuroimaging methods to uncover differences in prefrontal mechanisms between people with healthy cognitive function and those with schizophrenia, and looks at identifying how best to alter these mechanisms. This research has the potential inform potential new treatments for improving cognitive function across a vast range of brain disorders.


Dr Rogasch’s enthusiastic science communication spans national television programs, radio and print interviews, and regular public lectures and school visits. He also established a work experience program that brings school students into the lab, and developed a science club with primary school students.


Dr Rogasch received his PhD from Monash University in 2014, and is currently a senior research fellow at the University of Adelaide, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and Monash University.

“Dr Rogasch's research combines non-invasive brain stimulation and neuroimaging methods to investigate neurological differences in cognitive function.”

Contact us

SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards

Department for Innovation and Skills
Ph: (08) 8226 3821

Stay connected on all things science

  • White Twitter Icon
  • White LinkedIn Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White LinkedIn Icon