Adelaide researchers are Scientists of the Year
Saturday, 14 August 2010
The title of South Australian Scientist of the Year has been won by two University of Adelaide scientists.
The top award for 2010 - announced last night at the South Australian Science Excellence Awards - has been shared by two outstanding leaders in their fields: Professor Tanya Monro (Director, Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing) and affiliate Professor Angel Lopez (Co-Director, Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology).
The Scientist of the Year category was dominated by University of Adelaide scientists - the four finalists included two staff members and two affiliates. University of Adelaide staff and affiliates also won awards for Excellence in Research for Public Good, Community Science Educator of the Year, and South Australian Young Tall Poppy of the Year.
South Australian Scientist of the Year
Professor Tanya Monro
Professor Monro is an ARC Federation Fellow at the University of Adelaide. She is Director of the Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and Director of the Centre of Expertise in Photonics within the School of Chemistry & Physics at the University. Professor Monro came to the University of Adelaide in early 2005 as the inaugural Chair of Photonics. She has published more than 300 papers in journals and refereed conference proceedings. She leads a team that is developing new classes of optical fibres, which have application across a range of fields, such as defence, preventative health, environmental monitoring and food and wine.
Professor Monro is a member of the South Australian Premier's Science & Research Council. She regularly serves on a range of committees for the Australian Research Counil (ARC) and other key national bodies in the area of science policy and the evaluation of science. Her work has received support from State and Federal governments, as well as the Defence Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO). A past winner of the Prime Minister's Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year, Professor Monro was last year named by the Weekend Australian Magazine as Australia's top Emerging Leader in Science. Professor Monro is also currently nominated for the 2010 Eureka Prize for Science Leadership.
Professor Angel Lopez
Professor Lopez is Co-Director of the Centre for Cancer Biology at SA Pathology. He is an affiliate professor with the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine and is also linked with the University's School of Molecular & Biomedical Science. Since the early 1980s, Professor Lopez's research has focused on the blood hormones, or cytokines, that regulate blood cell production and function. Arriving in Adelaide in 1985, Professor Lopez set out to study how cytokines control normal hemopoiesis, leukaemia and inflammation.
Professor Lopez is the author of more than 170 research publications. His work in collaboration with others has led to significant discoveries in understanding how cytokines and cytokine receptors work in health and in diseases such as leukaemia and asthma. This has led to new paradigms of cytokine receptor signalling and has underpinned the development of new therapeutics with the potential to change clinical practice. In 2009, together with Professor Sharad Kumar, he established the Centre for Cancer Biology in SA Pathology. Professor Lopez and his team bring millions of dollars into South Australia through competitive research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and other organisations. In alliances with the pharmaceutical industry, Professor Lopez's work is being translated into drug candidates in certain leukaemias and inflammatory diseases.
Excellence in Research for Public Good
Dr Helen Marshall (Children, Youth and Women's Health Service, and Affiliate Lecturer in Public Health, University of Adelaide) won this award for her research into vaccines and immunisation, which aims to prevent deaths in young infants.
Community Science Educator of the Year
Professor Barry Brook (Environment Institute, University of Adelaide). The Science Educator of the Year awards recognise the important link between the ongoing success of South Australian science on the world stage, the economic value this has to the State and the education of future generations of scientists.
The South Australian Science Excellence Awards are a State Government initiative through the Department for Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology. The South Australian Scientist of the Year receives $50,000, while winners from other categories receive $10,000 to use within their research project or program. Science and Information Economy Minister the Hon. Mr Jack Snelling said: "These outstanding scientists epitomise the exceptional talent we have here in our State and it's through award programs like the South Australian Science Excellence Awards that we're able to offer recognition and acknowledgement of their important work." University staff were also nominated in the categories of Excellence in Research Commercialisation, Excellence in Research Collaboration and Tertiary Science Educator of the Year.
South Australian Young Tall Poppy of the Year
Dr Gabrielle Todd (Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide). Dr Todd is investigating how the brain controls movement and the pathological changes that lead to disorders such as Parkinson's disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disease. She is looking at novel approaches to reduce movement dysfunction, lessening the burden of this disease on patients and their carers.