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Staff and partnerships

The RISC Centre is directed by Professor Douglas Paton and welcomes Professor Susan Cutter (University of South Carolina) and Professor David Johnston (Massey University) as honorary staff.

Their combined research and experience creates a research management team equipped to support a multi-level and transdisciplinary research centre uniquely positioned to focus on the challenges facing Northern Australia and South-East Asia.

Our Experts

The breadth of expertise in the research team facilitate the Centre's ability to build on on resilience theory and practice that will inform intervention delivery across a range of social and digital contexts.

The research of the Centre will build on staff research expertise in biological and radiological health, including assessment of physiological indices of stress, community disadvantage, and conflict hazards.

The Centre has expertise in resilience theory development and testing for natural hazards, vulnerability assessment, and weather-related hazards. The Centre has the expertise in testing resilience theories and their utility in digital contexts.


Current Staff


Professor Douglas Paton

Douglas Paton

Douglas is a Professor at Charles Darwin University and Director of the Australasian RISC Research Centre. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Bandung Resilience Initiative in Bandung, Indonesia; a Research Fellow at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research in New Zealand; and a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Board for the European Commission TACTIC (Tools, methods and training for communities and society to better prepare for a crisis) Program.

He is currently acting as an Expert Advisor on Community Resilience with the World Health Organization (WHO) and is working with the Tzu Chi Foundation in Taiwan to develop comprehensive models of long-term community disaster recovery and future community capacity building.

In 2005-2006, following the Indian Ocean tsunami, Douglas was the Australian delegate to the UNESCO Education for Natural Disaster Preparedness in the Asia-Pacific Program where he contributed to disaster education and policy formulation. He also produced education materials designed to the needs of different local populations, sectors and stakeholders.

He was a member of the Psychosocial Advisory Committee for the Christchurch earthquake from 2011-2013. In 2014-15, while acting as a Technical Advisor on Risk Communication to WHO, Douglas contributed to developing the community engagement program for the WHO Ebola response program in Sierra Leone.

Douglas’ research adopts an all-hazards, cross cultural approach to the development and testing of theories of adaptive and resilient capacity in communities and in emergency response organizations.

He has worked in Australia (wildfire, flooding, tsunami), New Zealand (earthquake, tsunami, volcanic hazards), Iran (earthquake), Somalia (flooding), Nepal (earthquake), Japan (earthquake, volcanic hazards), Indonesia (volcanic hazards), Taiwan (earthquake, typhoon), and Portugal (wildfire).

He has published 23 books, 132 book chapters and 180 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Dr Gabriela Minigo

Gabriela Minigo

Minigo is an immunologist with over 15 years’ research experience. She is a Lecturer in Immunology and Haematology in the Faculty of Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at Menzies School of Health Research.

She has published in high profile immunology journals including Blood, Circulation, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Scientific Reports, Infection and Immunity and Frontiers in Immunology.

Over the past ten years, she has secured research funding in excess of $800,000, including an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship, an NHMRC project grant, two Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation grants, one Menzies Seed Funding grant and an equipment grant.

She has been serving as external reviewer to NHMRC project grants since 2010. In the Centre she will complement her work on understanding protective immunity to malaria in endemic areas, vaccine development, immune regulation and the contribution of immune cells and inflammation to disease pathology with the application of this knowledge to researching challenge and change in public health and pandemic risk reduction and response.



Honorary Staff

Professor Susan Cutter

Dr. Susan L. Cutter is a Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of South Carolina where she directs the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute.

Her primary research interests are in the area of disaster vulnerability/resilience science—what makes people and the places where they live vulnerable to extreme events and how vulnerability and resilience are measured, monitored, and assessed.

She has authored or edited thirteen books, more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Her latest book, Hurricane Katrina and the Forgotten Coast of Mississippi (Cambridge University Press 2014), examines the post-disaster recovery along the coast and the role that historic, economic, and social factors play in producing the differential recovery that is so apparent today.

She has led post event field teams in examining Three Mile Island (1979), Hurricane Floyd (1999), September 11th World Trade Center attack (2001), Graniteville, SC train derailment and chlorine spill (2005), Hurricane Katrina (2005), and Hurricane Sandy (2012).

She has provided expert testimony to Congress on hazards and vulnerability and was a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers IPET team evaluating the social impacts of the New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Protection System in response to Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Cutter has provided expert testimony to Congress on hazards and vulnerability and was a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers IPET team evaluating the social impacts of flood protection systems in New Orleans in response to Hurricane Katrina.

She also served as a juror in the HUD-sponsored Rebuild by Design competition which awarded innovative projects to increase resilience in the Hurricane Sandy affected region.

Dr. Cutter serves on many national advisory boards and committees including those of National Research Council (NRC), the AAAS, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Natural Hazards Center (Boulder, CO), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

She also serves as Vice-Chair of the international Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Science Committee supported by ISSC, ICSU, and UN-ISDR. Dr. Cutter is co-executive editor of Environment and Editor-in-Chief of Oxford University Research Encyclopedias: Natural Hazards Science.

Professor David Johnston

Professor David Johnston is a Senior Scientist at GNS Science (New Zealand’s Geological Survey) and Director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research in the School of Psychology at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.

His research has developed as part of multi-disciplinary theoretical and applied research programme, involving the collaboration of physical and social scientists from several organisations and countries. 

His research focuses on human responses to volcano, tsunami, earthquake and weather warnings, crisis decision-making and the role of public education and participation in building community resilience and recovery.

David is the Chair of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Scientific Committee (IRDR), a programme co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISCC), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster reduction (UNISDR); on New Zealand’s Royal Society Social Science Advisory Panel; the Editor of The Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies; and founding Editor of the Journal of Applied Volcanology.

Affiliated Researchers & Organisations

College of Indigenous and Future Knowledges, Charles Darwin University

Dr. Akhilesh Surjan                                                                            

Dr. Jonatan Lassa                          


University of Canberra                                                                             

Dr Petra Buergelt               

Prof. Iain Walker     


University of Tasmania, College of Science and Engineering                

Dr. Rebecca Carey           

Dr. Sandra Astill     

Dr. Oanh Nguyen


Institute of Technology Bandung

Dr Saut  Sagala