Young Adelaide scientists become Tall Poppies

Dr Janet Coller.

Dr Janet Coller.
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Dr Frank Grützner.

Dr Frank Grützner.
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Friday, 17 August 2007

Two University of Adelaide researchers have been named Young Tall Poppies of Science for 2007-2008.

Dr Janet Coller (Pharmacology) and Dr Frank Grützner (Genetics) are among eight young South Australians to be recognised for their outstanding contributions to scientific research.

The eight have been presented with Young Tall Poppy Science Awards by South Australia's Minister for Science and Information Economy, Paul Caica, as part of National Science Week.

"The Young Tall Poppy Awards not only acknowledge the young scientists' achievements, but also provide them with an opportunity to be important role models," Mr Caica said.

"We need many more young South Australians studying and taking up careers in science and there can be no better role models to enthuse and inspire them than these dynamic, young scientists."

Dr Janet Coller's research is in the fields of clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenomics. Her work is aimed at developing knowledge to enable the use of genetic testing to identify patients at higher risk for drug toxicity and/or poor therapeutic outcomes.

Her research to date has been within various fields of clinical pharmacology, including breast cancer, opioid drug dependence (such as heroin), cardiology and solid-organ transplantation. The outcomes of her research have the potential to improve health outcomes for a wide variety of patients and enable personalised drug therapy to become a reality.

Dr Frank Grützner's general research interest is to understand how the genetic material of different species is organised in the cell. This reveals how the genome has changed over time and identifies the bits that have been maintained over millions of years, which therefore must have an essential function, also in humans.

Dr Grützner has worked on different species including apes, rodents, marsupials, reptiles and fish - but since coming to Australia he has been fascinated with two extraordinary and iconic Australian species: platypus and echidnas.

One of the highlights of his research is the finding that the platypus has 10 sex chromosomes compared to just two in humans. He and his colleagues also found that platypus sex chromosomes are similar to bird sex chromosomes. This is against the long-held view that sex chromosomes in mammals and birds have developed independently.

Dr Coller, Dr Grützner and the other award-winners will be enlisted into the Tall Poppy Reaching Kids Program, which aims to promote and encourage science to school students across the State.

The State Government is the major sponsor of the Tall Poppy Campaign in SA.


Contact Details

Dr Janet Coller
Senior Lecturer
School of Medical Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3906
Mobile: 0419 856 364

Professor Frank Grutzner
School of Biological Sciences
and Robinson Research Institute
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4812
Mobile: 0417 026 302

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762