Science researchers stand tall

Thursday, 3 August 2006

A University of Adelaide scientist renowned for her research into plant diseases has today been named South Australia's Tall Poppy of the Year.

Dr Amanda Able, a senior lecturer at the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, has helped secure almost $2 million funding for plant-related research at the University of Adelaide since 2001. Her laboratory is a world leader in understanding the physiology of plant-pathogen interactions and postharvest disorders.

In addition to her research excellence, Dr Able is passionate about educating the next generation of scientists. She was awarded the Executive Dean's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005 and is heavily involved in promoting plant breeding and plant biotechnology to school students.

Dr Melanie McDowall, a postdoctoral fellow at the University's Roseworthy Campus, was also one of six recipients of this year's Tall Poppy Science Awards.

The annual awards recognise and reward individuals who have made a significant contribution to science in South Australia through their academic achievements and their community engagement in promoting science.

Dr McDowall, a researcher within the Discipline of Agricultural and Animal Science, is well known for her work to improve wool traits in Merino sheep by treating pregnant ewes with nutritional supplements. She is also a project leader within the Sheep Genomics program, which aims to improve wool, meat, parasite and reproductive efficiencies of sheep by gene discovery and non-genetic manipulations.

Professor J. Robin Warren, who received the 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine with colleague Professor Barry Marshall, addressed the six award winners at a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency today.

Dr Warren, a 1961 medicine graduate of the University of Adelaide, and Professor Marshall won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.

The Tall Poppy Campaign was created by the Australian Institute of Political Science (AIPS) during the celebrations for the centenary of the birth of Australian Nobel Prize winning scientist Sir Howard Florey in 1998.


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