University researchers elected fellows of the Australian Academy of Science

April 14 / 132

Three University academics have been elected as fellows of the Australian Academy of Science in recognition of their work to advance the sum of scientific knowledge.

The Academy is a fellowship of Australia’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for outstanding research.

This year, 21 scientists were elected to the 481-member fellowship.

Professor Ingrid Scheffer from the University and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health has been elected for her revolutionary research into the genetic causes of epilepsy and defining new epilepsy syndromes.

Her work has informed clinical diagnosis and led to genetic testing which enables optimisation of therapy and has the potential to improve the long-term outcome of these disorders.

Professor Ivan Marusic from the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been recognised for his work on turbulent flows in applications from aquatic ecosystems to aircraft drag reduction.

Aircraft spend about half of their fuel overcoming turbulence, meaning that any improvement in this area can reduce the cost of air travel and carbon emissions.

Professor Marusic said the fellowship was an honour for him and his team and Australian fluid mechanics researchers more generally.

The Academy also elected Professor Barbara Howlett from the School of Botany in recognition of her discoveries about fungal diseases of crops, which have led to strategies that Australian farmers use to minimise yield losses. 

This research has led to savings of $15 million for canola growers on the Eyre Peninsula in 2012 alone. 

Professor Howlett also acknowledged the work of her colleagues.

“I am very fortunate to lead a multidisciplinary team with laboratory and field –based skills, which we use to tackle practical issues for farmers,” she said.

Academy president Suzanne Cory congratulated all of the new Fellows.

“All of these scientists are doing amazing and significant work in their chosen fields – they are the Olympic athletes of science,” she said.

The new fellows will be formally admitted at the Australian Academy of Science’s annual general meeting in May.

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