• Computational neuroscience (plasticity)
  • Electric vehicle charging and grid constraints
  • Optimal network design
  • Underground mine access design
  • Wireless sensor networks



  • Professor Doreen Thomas is the Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean Research and Research Training for the Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

    She completed a BSc at the University of Cape Town, her Honours year in Mathematics at the University of Witwatersrand and then a MSc and DPhil Degree in Mathematics at St Anne's College, University of Oxford.

    Professor Thomas has applied her fundamental mathematical research in network optimisation to applications in a number of areas including underground mine access. The software encapsulating her work has been licensed to mining companies such as BHP Billiton, Newmont and Rio Tonto to reduce underground mine development and haulage costs. She is the director of a start-up company MineOptima, through which the software has been commercialised. It has been included in the international mining software company Maptek's Vulcan software as well as Deswik's.

    She has over 150 publications in international peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings.

    She has always placed a great emphasis on teaching and was head of the Engineering Mathematics program at the University of Melbourne from 1999-2008. In 2011, she was awarded a Citation for an Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

    Professor Thomas is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. She is also a Fellow of Engineers Australia.   


Member of

  • IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Senior Member 2006 -
  • The Australian Mathematical Society. Member 2000 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • 2012: D. Thomas, 'Survivable networks: Geometric techniques for the optimal design of fault-tolerant communication networks', Global Engagement Strategic Mobility Grants Scheme, University of Melbourne with London School of Economics and Political Science and Copenhagen University, $3K

    2004: D. Thomas and M. Brazil, Coursework Design and Development Program, Multimedia Student Education Support Tools in Engineering Analysis, $38,492
    2001-2008: Tewkesbury Fellowship funding, 40K



Education and training

  • PhD, University of Oxford 1977
  • MSc, University of Oxford 1974
  • BSc (Hons), University of Witwatersrand 1971
  • BSc, University of Cape Town 1970

Awards and honors

  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, 2012
  • Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), 2011
  • 2011 Patricia Grimshaw Award for mentoring excellence, The University of Melbourne, 2011
  • Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Australia, 2007
  • Best Paper Award, 2007 International Conference of Wireless Networks (ICWN'07), The International Association of Engineers (IAEng), 2007
  • Universitas 21 Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching, The University of Melbourne, 2003
  • Teaching Excellence Award, Faculty of Engineering, University of Melbourne, 1998
  • Una Goodwin Research Scholarship, Oxford University, St Anne's College, 1976



Available for supervision

  • N

Supervision Statement

  • My expertise is in mathematical network optimisation. I offer RHD projects in the following areas:

    1. underground mine design
    2. sensor network deployment
    3. impact of electric vehicles on the grid