Forrest scholarships support budding young scientists

21/01/2021 | 2 mins

Three students have been awarded prestigious Forrest Scholarships to carry out research at The University of Western Australia.

They will develop solutions to complex global challenges including understanding the role DNA plays in the sexual maturity and life span of animals, developing an early warning system for coastal erosion and flooding for use across Australia and research into how molecules are composed.

They join two recipients who will study at Curtin University and one at Murdoch University.

The scholarships are possible through the Forrest Research Foundation, which aims to attract the brightest minds to conduct research in Western Australia.

Thalles Araujo

Image: Scholarship recipient Thalles Araujo.

Thalles Araujo will study ocean engineering at UWA as part of his scholarship. He will look at developing a warning system for coastal dangers using state-of-the-art computer modelling that simulates sea level, waves, currents and sediment transport. His research is part of a larger collaborative nation-wide project that aims to develop a coastal warning system and test its effectiveness.

Matthew Heydenrych will study biological science at UWA. He will research the DNA of zebra fish and wild animals, including commercial fish species, to demonstrate a practical and cost-effective method to understand their reproductive development and life span. The work is expected to support biodiversity protection efforts by providing a greater understanding of animal populations.

Wei-Ming (Sean) Li will be studying chemistry at UWA where he will focus on developing greater understanding of the structure of tiny molecules that scientists often struggle to observe in minute detail. He will examine molecular bonds to understand how chemicals within cells of insects, plants, and other small organisms mix and react together.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said the University was pleased to welcome young, innovative thinkers who would contribute to successes in science.

“Science is vital for creating new knowledge, meeting the challenges of our society and developing ways of improving our lives. We look forward to welcoming these scientists to UWA. They will be working on important projects that contribute to the welfare of the entire community,” Professor Chakma said.

The Forrest Research Foundation provides support to selected international and domestic students enrolling in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at one of the State’s universities. It also supports leading researchers who are at the start of their career by providing post-doctoral fellowships.

For more about the Forrest Research Foundation, visit

Media references

Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Adviser) 08 6488 6876

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