ACU really helped me to prepare for medical school. The lecturers helped me every step of the way, giving me opportunities to practice my interviews, giving me tips on how to do well on my GAMSAT and helping to point me in the right direction. The inclusion of a community engagement as a part of the course has also helped me to stand out by being able to understand how medical practices should be adapted for different communities, focusing on those social foundations of medicine.

Danelda Theron, Medical school student
Bachelor of Biomedical Science

Course information

Course overview: The Honours program is an intensive one-year course of study designed to enhance the research skills of undergraduate students. Normally only available to those students with an outstanding undergraduate academic record, honours consists of a research project carried out under supervision of a researcher and generic skills training in project management writing, communication and library search skills. You will work nearly full time on your research project and by the end of the year it is expected that you will have learnt from first-hand experience how to formulate questions, design and conduct experiments, analyse and evaluate data, and write an Honours thesis which could be in the format of a scientific paper.

The Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) will provide students with an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in their bachelor degree in a specific context within a field of science. The honours program will enable high achieving students to explore and engage in the research process in greater detail, equipping them with skills as commencing researchers. The program will provide a suitable pathway to further post-graduate study and additional employment options in some organisations.

Check the relevant handbook for details of the Honours program

Projects available for 2025

Please contact for updates on new research projects and Honours Projects on Melbourne Campus (Research Projects available in collaboration with Peter Mac Callum Cancer Centre and St Vincent Research Institute).

Nowadays, plastic food packaging poses risks to the environment and human health. As a promising alternative, emulsion-based biodegradable film has attracted increasing attention. In this system, oil droplets are coated by the protein layers and suspended in the film homogenously to protect food products and extend their shelf life. Recently, the development of protein-phenolic conjugates as encapsulants has received much research interest due to potentially improved emulsifying, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, etc. Meanwhile, many literatures have proven the antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oils.

This study investigates the reactions between food proteins and phenolic compounds. The effects of conjugation on proteins' solubility and emulsifying properties are determined. Then, the protein-phenolic compounds are used to encapsulate essential oil as an emulsion. Finally, emulsion-based films are prepared using the casting method, followed by measuring their functional properties. As an application, the fabricated film is applied to preserve cherry tomatoes. The quality and shelf life of the fruit are monitored to investigate the efficacy and effectiveness of protection.

Supervisor: Bo Wang (Principal Supervisor), Pre De Silva

Campus: North Sydney

Lipids rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been promoted as important dietary components to promote human health. However, these lipids are naturally susceptible and readily oxidised during food processing and storage. Therefore, they are commonly stabilised into protein-based powder form via the "microencapsulation" process to maximise their stability and facilitate the application. On the other hand, phenolic compounds are powerful antioxidants. In recent years, they have received increasing research interest due to their health benefits in preventing conditions like cognitive decline, cancer, and osteoporosis.

In this study, we aim to design a novel microencapsulation system to co-deliver omega-3 lipids using a protein-conjugate based system, followed by the bioaccessibility test. Omega-3 lipids are the "core material," while protein and phenolic compounds act as "wall materials". It is hypothesised that 1) The developed system can significantly enhance the oxidative stability of omega-3 lipids and 2) The designed microcapsules are digestible in the in-vitro gastrointestinal environment.

Targeted Cohort: Bachelor of Biomedical Science and Bachelor of Nutrition Science

Supervisor: Bo Wang (Principal Supervisor), Pre De Silva

Campus: North Sydney

Magnesium is a mineral essential for healthy muscles, nerves, bones, and blood sugar levels. Normal plasma magnesium concentration is maintained by the kidney (0.8 to 1.10mml/L).

The Australian Department of Health (13 January 2023) reported that approximately 70% of the population are deficient in magnesium. Short-term magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle spasms and cramps and severe deficiency to arrhythmias and potentially cardiac arrest. Long-term deficiency increases the chances of developing hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraine headaches.

Magnesium deficiency can be a result of poor diet but also includes those with digestive problems (e.g. Crohn's disease), persistent vomiting or diarrhoea or overuse of diuretics or drugs to treat Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).

Magnesium levels in the body can be depleted by excessive consumption of processed foods, high sugar content and coffee and alcohol consumption and which may explain the apparently high prevalence of low magnesium intake in the Australian population.

In a university context, lower levels of magnesium may also offer insight into elevated levels of anxiety in students, increased stress, and student retention in degree programs.

This project seeks to gain a better understanding of measured magnesium levels in students over several time points during an academic semester via the use of saliva-based and or plasma ELISA measurement together with a confidential medical history covering elements that affect magnesium intake and absorption.

Supervisor: Dr Roger Lord

The honours' students involved in these projects will investigate new pathways involved in Alzheimer's Disease using human brain tissues, saliva and blood samples.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Francesca Fernandez (

Campus: Brisbane

Honours student publications

Theron D, Hopkins LN, Sutherland HG, Griffiths LR, Fernandez F (2023). Can Genetic Markers Predict the Sporadic Form of Alzheimer's Disease? An Updated Review on Genetic Peripheral Markers. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Aug 30;24(17):13480. doi: 10.3390/ijms241713480.

Fernandez F., Aust C., Lye S., Griffiths LR, Antroquinonol administration in animal preclinical studies for Alzheimer's disease (AD): A new avenue for modifying progression of AD pathophysiology. (2022). Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health, Volume 21,100435. doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100435. eCollection 2022 May

Clarke T, Fernandez F and Dawson PA (2022) Sulfation Pathways During Neurodevelopment. Front. Mol. Biosci. 9:866196. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2022.866196

Lye S, Aust CE, Griffiths LR, Fernandez F (2021). Exploring new avenues for modifying course of progression of Alzheimer's disease: The rise of natural medicine. J Neurol Sci. 2021 Mar 15;422:117332. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2021.117332

Cassidy L, Fernandez F, Johnson JB, Naiker M, Owoola AG, Broszczak DA. Oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease: A review on emergent natural polyphenolic therapeutics (2020). Complement Ther Med. 2020 Mar;49:102294. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102294

More information

If you have any other questions in relation to completing an honours degree, please contact Associate Professor Francesca Fernandez, National Course Coordinator via email:

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