5RP Central Queensland University




  • Producer Michael Schubert
  • Social Influences on Problem Gamblers
  • Are You Getting Enough?  Sex as a Natural Hypnotic.











Welcome to the SoundMinds 5 Minute Research Pitch 2017 Finals Presentations. The 5 Minute Research Pitch is a competition for academics to present their research in 5 minutes. That’s it, they can use 3 slides – and there are no more rules.  Pictured above are the 2017 finalists.

Researchers from 7 universities competed this year within their university in two categories: Science& Health: and Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. The winner in each category heads off to the finals.

This year, the competition was hosted by Central Queensland University, because one of their researchers [Dr Melanie Hayman] was the 2016 overall winner. You can hear more from Melanie in the SoundMinds episode Fit4Two where she discusses her innovative and entrepreneurial research about fitness during pregnancy.

The competition was held at the Central Quenland University campus in Melbourne, hosting the competitors from seven universities:

  • Central Queensland University
  • Australian Catholic University
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Southern Cross University
  • Southern Queensland University
  • University of Tasmania
  • Victoria University

It takes more than knowledge about your research. It takes preparation and precision. You are disqualified at 5:00 minutes and if the slides don’t work, you’re on your own. In the world of academics, outside of publishing and taking the knowledge about our world forward, communication is essential, whether to colleagues, students, the public or potential funders.

“So often, this is what’s missing in research, passion for the project and the ability to explain it simply and effectively.”
Professor Scott Bowman (Vice Chancellor, Central Queensland University)






In this episode, two academics from the host Central Queensland University present their research.  Dr Alex Rusell works as a post doctoral fellow with a focus on gambling research, which he discusses in “Social Influences on Problem Gamblers”.  Dr Michele Lastella teaches in the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science, where he continues to research covering sleep, stressors, psychological impacts and performnace, some of which you will hear about in his talk, “Are You Getting Enough? Sex as a Natural Hypnotic”.





Dr Alex Rusell

Alex has a background in psychology, completing his PhD in 2014 in the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney where he studied taste and smell perception, with a specific interest in wine perception. During that time he also conducted research into odour-colour synaesthesia.

Towards the end of his PhD, Alex started working in gambling research which led to a position in the Centre for Gambling Education and Research at Southern Cross University.  He now  works as a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at CQUniversity, with a focus on gambling research. His specific interests in the area of gambling are: the impact of new technologies (Internet, mobile devices) on gambling behaviours and related harms; gambling amongst minority groups, such as Indigenous people; and methodological issues in gambling research.





Dr Michele Lastella

Michele completed an Honours degree in Psychology in 2009 at the University of the Sunshine Coast and a PhD in Psychology in 2015 at the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Sciences. During this time he became active in sleep research. His research interests involved examining the sleep/wake behaviours of elite athletes and how various stressors may impact their psychological state and performance. In 2016, he took up a full-time teaching and research position at the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science and continues conducting research in the area of pre-sleep behaviours, sleep, mood and performance.


Alex Russell placed third in the Science and Health discipline. Michele Lastrealla placed second in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences discipline.


Podington Bear, Floating in Space