Science excellence attracts awards
University of Adelaide researchers and affiliates have been recognised for their science excellence in prestigious South Australian awards.
Professor Mark Buntine, from the University's School of Chemistry and Physics, was named Science Educator of the Year at the State Government's 2008 Science Excellence Awards for his outstanding contribution to student learning in the laboratory.
Professor Buntine has established a community of practice to enhance chemistry education in laboratories across the nation, with the development of a program called Advancing Chemistry by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ACELL).
ACELL was founded by Professor Buntine and University of Sydney's Professor Scott Kable nine years ago. The nationwide collaboration, led by Professor Buntine, provides a free public resource of undergraduate chemistry experiments and documentation with demonstrated educational benefit.
"The laboratory environment offers unique opportunities for students to develop understanding of complex and abstract chemistry," said Professor Buntine. "Unfortunately, the potential has often been unrealised with laboratory activities offering little more than instructions to follow dull recipes."
The title of 2008 South Australian Scientist of the Year went to Professor John Hopwood, Head of SA Pathology's Lysosomal Diseases Research Unit based at the Women's and Children's Hospital. Professor Hopwood is an affiliate professor in the University's Discipline of Paediatrics.
Associate Professor John Mulley, also from SA Pathology, who won the Excellence in Research for Public Good Benefit award, is an affiliate in the University of Adelaide's School of Molecular and Biomedical Science.
The University of Adelaide is a partner in Marine Innovation SA which won the Constellation SA Award for Excellence in Collaborative Research. Marine Innovation SA is a partnership between SARDI, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, SA Museum, seafood industries and regional communities focusing on research into the ecologically sustainable development of state fisheries, aquaculture and marine ecosystem industries.
At the Science Excellence Awards, University of Adelaide researcher Dr Tamath Rainsford (School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) was also named the overall winner of the SA Young Tall Poppy Science Award, selected from 10 winners that included four other University of Adelaide researchers.
Dr Rainsford's research is about applying mathematics to various real-world problems, especially those that are medical or biological in nature. She has demonstrated how combining mathematics with the latest medical tools can potentially create new medical solutions.
The other University of Adelaide "Tall Poppies" are:
Associate Professor Corey Bradshaw (Research Director of Marine Impacts, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide and SARDI) whose research aims to provide a strong scientific basis for justifying conserving biodiversity.
Dr Catherine Gibson (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Obstetrics and Gynaecology) whose research is aimed at identifying possible causes for cerebral palsy, the most common major physical disability in childhood.
Dr Galen Halverson (Lecturer, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences) who aims to reconstruct the history of the Earth's surface environment as recorded in ancient sedimentary rocks.
Dr Megan Mitchell (Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Obstetrics and Gynaecology) whose research in reproductive biology looks at how nutrition and the increasing age of first-time mothers affects development of the female eggs, and embryos.
Story by Robyn Mills