Around the universities and research institutes

Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja17.0210C2
Published online: 2 October 2017

The 2017 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes have been awarded and health and medicine researchers featured heavily. Professor Geoffrey Webb, from Monash University, won the UTS Eureka Prize for Excellence in Data Science for his work, which has included supporting research into male suicide and a range of diseases, and has had significant social and economic impact.

The Scabies Research Team, from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, the Kirby Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and the Menzies School of Health Research, won the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research for two landmark trials showing that mass drug administration with the oral drug ivermectin is highly effective in controlling scabies and related bacterial skin sores.

The Johnson and Johnson Eureka Prize for Innovation in Medical Research went to the Colvera Team from the CSIRO, Clinical Genomics P/L and Flinders University, for developing a clinically validated blood test that sensitively and accurately detects cancer DNA in the blood plasma of colorectal cancer patients.

ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology went to the FREO2 Siphon concentrator at the University of Melbourne, which stores and delivers medical-grade oxygen to critically ill newborn babies without needing a secure source of electricity, with the potential to substantially reduce infant mortality rates arising from hypoxic illnesses in low-resource settings, such as Papua New Guinea, East Timor and sub-Saharan Africa. The UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research was won by Bacteria Busters at Swinburne University of Technology, where Professor Elena Ivanova and Professor Saulius Juodkazis showed that mimicking the nanomorphology of insect wings is an effective method of preventing bacterial colonisation. Their approach of providing a physical, rather than chemical, means of killing bacteria could have a huge impact on public health worldwide. Professor Andrew Whitehouse, from the Telethon Kids Institute, won the 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science, for his work helping children with autism reach their full potential. Professor Justin Gooding (pictured) from the University of New South Wales, won the UTS Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers, for training and developing an all-new breed of research leader in bionanotechnology and nanomedicine.

Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health has announced the winners of the 2017 Dean’s Awards for Excellence. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research Impact (Economic and Social Impact): Professor Michael Abramson, Professor Judi Walker, Professor Malcolm Sim (pictured), Dr Matthew Carroll and the Hazelwood Health Study Project Management Group, School of Rural Health and School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine; Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (Early Career): Dr Eric Chow, Central Clinical School; Dean’s Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence: Dr Jae Young Lee, Central Clinical School; Dean’s Award for Excellence in Education (Honours Supervision): Dr Ted Brown, School of Primary and Allied Health Care; Dean’s Award for Excellence in Education (Quality of Teaching): Dr Simone Gibson, School of Clinical Sciences; Dean’s Award for Excellence in Education (Innovation in Teaching): Dr Dana Wong, School of Psychological Sciences; Dr Julia Choate and the Biomedical Professional Development team of Ms Sandra Cran, Associate Professor Janet Macaulay, Dr Maria Demaria, Ms Judi Green from the School of Biomedical Sciences; Dean’s Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Dr Rebecca Lane and the NICHE team: Ms Jo-Anne Corbett, Ms Prue Munro, Dr Adela Abu-Arab, School of Primary and Allied Health Care; Dean’s Award for Excellence in Safety: Ms Rebecca Flower, School of Biomedical Sciences; Dean’s Award for Excellence in Administration: Ms Ruth Fantozzi, School of Clinical Sciences, Ms Sharon Gurry, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine; Physiology Practical Teaching Laboratory Officer team: Ms Barbara Smith, Ms Kushani Weerakoon, Ms Svetlana Stanojkovic, Ms Alda Retre, Ms Sofie Saleh; School of Biomedical Sciences.

Monash University researcher Dr Daniella Brasacchio has received the 2017 Pink Hope Outreach Ambassadors Award in recognition of her scientific and public advocacy work, raising awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. A senior research fellow in the Blood Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Dr Brasacchio has been recognised by the preventative health organisation Pink Hope for helping to raise awareness of hereditary cancer, promoting the work of Pink Hope and supporting high risk families. Pink Hope works to ensure every individual can assess, manage and reduce their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, while providing personalised support for at risk women. While Dr Brasacchio’s research at Monash University is not connected to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer—she investigates blood cancers including myeloma and lymphoma—she believes it’s extremely important for scientists to use their skills and knowledge to positively communicate research to the community.



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