Three University of Adelaide researchers were named Young Tall Poppies of Science for 2011-2012 for their work in plant science, environmental modeling and sensory science.
The winners for the University of Adelaide were:
Dr Matthew Gilliham - agricultural plant science (Waite Research Institute and School of Agriculture, Food and Wine)
Dr Gilliham investigates how wheat and grapevines might better tolerate soil salinity and how the nutritional quality of crop plants can be improved. In Australia, soil salinity affects approximately 30% of all agricultural soil and 69% of the wheat belt. These figures are expected to increase with climate change. His work into increasing salinity tolerance and crop yield will contribute to increased production in Australia and other countries with salty soil, and in doing so help combat food insecurity.
Professor Dmitri Kavetski - hydrological and environmental modelling (School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering)
Professor Kavetski's research focuses on understanding and modelling the water cycle. Given the significance of water in human society, and in natural ecosystems, modelling the behaviour of catchments is an integral part of environmental science, engineering and management. Dmitri's work draws on advances in many fields of physical, mathematical and statistical sciences to build more accurate and reliable hydrological models for use in applications as broad as water resources planning, flood prediction and climate studies.
Dr Kerry Wilkinson - analytical chemistry and sensory science (Waite Research Institute and School of Agriculture, Food and Wine)
Dr Wilkinson works with the compounds that affect the aroma and flavour of grapes and wine. In 2009 after the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, local winemakers found that wine made from smoke-exposed grapes smelled and tasted like smoked bacon, cold campfires or Band-Aids. This cost the Victorian industry more than $300 million. Dr Wilkinson has identified the compounds responsible for this 'smoke taint' and developed methods for removing them, a valuable development for Australia's third biggest export industry.
The impact to help the world with a growing problem
According to the United Nations, 850 million people across the world are hungry and this problem is growing. According to Professor Mark Tester, we can make a difference. Professor Tester and his team are part of a global effort to help people feed themselves. A major problem is that the level of salt in the world’s rivers is increasing at an alarming rate. Our own Murray River, for example, is becoming increasingly saline.
The impact to turn cancer from a sentence into a word
A cure for cancer may be a long way off but Professor Shaun McColl and his team are working towards preventing 90% of cancer related deaths. Imagine the impact of being able to prevent the growth of secondary cancers. A key to combating these insidious complications lies in understanding what controls cell movement through the body - a long term project of Professor Shaun McColl.
Australia's cultural revolution
In June 2005, the University of Adelaide and the Australian Ballet signed a memorandum of understanding, the aim of which was to increase collaborative endeavour and relations between the two organisations. The Memorandum follows the receipt of a major ARC Linkage Project grant awarded to the University of Adelaide, the Australian Ballet and the National Library of Australia.
Commercialising insulin-like growth factors
Insulin-like Growth Factors (IGF-I and IGF-II) are small, highly-related proteins which stimulate the growth and differentiation of a wide variety of cell types. Professor John Wallace from the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, is an expert on IGFs, which are produced by the liver and circulate in the blood.
Increasing road safety, preventing injuries
Research in road safety and injury control at the Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide, contributes to the reduction of the human and economic costs of road crashes. The Centre began life in 1973 as the Road Accident Research Unit (RARU) with the planning and undertaking of an in-depth study of road accidents in the Adelaide metropolitan area.
Reducing the risk of complications in late pregnancy
The Roinson Institute, through Dr Claire Roberts and Professor Gus Dekker, is receiving $2.37m from the Premier's Science & Research Fund to further their work on Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SA SCOPE).