Melbourne sweeps the Tall Poppy Science Awards
The winners will spend the upcoming year engaging with teachers, school students, parents and the broader community around Victoria and across Australia as part of the Tall Poppy program run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.
The Young Tall Poppy Science Awards recognise early career researchers who have achieved significant research outcomes and have demonstrated their passion to engage with the community in science.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Chair of the Young Tall Poppies Victorian Committee, Professor James McCluskey, congratulated the award winners and praised their commitment to communicating science to the wider community.
"All our awardees recognise the importance of scientific research and the more important goal of ensuring society benefits from their shared knowledge," he said.
Winners from the University of Melbourne:
- Dr Tu'uhevaha Kaitu'u-Lino: (Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mercy Hospital for Women Medical Research - Women's Health). Winner of a major Tall Poppy Award. Dr Kaitu'u-Lino's research focusees on developing new medical treatments that can prevent the escape of toxins from the placenta that cause preeclampsia. This year her team discovered how a key toxin called 'soluble endoglin' is released from placenta.
- Dr Paul Umina (Zoology, Sustainable Agriculture): Winner of a major Tall Poppy Award. Dr Umina's research is enabling farmers to achieve a balance between profitability and environmental sustainability by developing new ways to combat insect pests and improve crop yields without harming the environment.
- Dr Alex Fornito (Psychiatry and Neuroscience): Dr Fornito's research focuses on how the brain works, how it is affected by mental illness and influenced by genetic make-up.
- Dr Kate Murphy (Basic and Clinical Physiology): Dr Murphy investigates the mechanisms causing cancer cachexia (a wasting and weakness of skeletal muscle) and identifies and tests the effectiveness of potential therapies to treat this condition.
- Dr Colin Scholes (Climate Change Mitigation, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering): Dr Scholes is developing efficient filtering membranes to separate carbon from industry gases such as coal-fired power stations.
- Dr Georgina Such (Polymer and Materials Science. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.): Dr Such's work investigates better ways to deliver chemotherapy drugs by designing a smart capsule that is specially designed to protect the body from the drug until it reaches the specific cancer site.
- Dr Ben Emery (Centre for Neuroscience Research and Florey Neuroscience Institute): Dr Emery's research aims to understand what controls the development of oligodendrocytes in the brain and the communications between nerve cells and the oligodendrocytes that stimulate the adjacent nerve fibres. This research may help in treatments that promote the repair of myelin in human diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis.
- Dr James McCaw (Infectious Disease epidemiology, Melbourne School of Population Health): Dr McCaw uses mathematics and ideas from physics to build models that simulate the transmission of diseases like influenza through the community and to help develop new strategies for controlling transmissible diseases.