Six leading academics and four students from The University of Western Australia have been announced as finalists in the 2020 Premier’s Science Awards, which celebrate the achievements of the Western Australian science community.
Professor Wendy Erber from UWA’s School of Biomedical Sciences, Professor Ryan Lister from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and Professor Eric May from the Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences were among the finalists in the Scientist of the Year category.
Professor Erber is a world-renowned haematologist and Professor from the School of Biomedical Sciences. She carries out diagnostic and translational haematology research and was part of the UWA research team that developed an automated method for rapid leukaemia detection.
Professor Lister is a pioneer in the field of epigenomics – the study of the molecular code that controls gene activity. His research into plant and animal systems has revolutionised our understanding of genome regulation, stem cell biology and brain development.
Professor May is the Chevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering at UWA and the Director of the Australian Centre for LNG Futures, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. His research group works closely with industry, conducting projects in LNG production, flow assurance and fluid property prediction.
In the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year, three of the four finalists are from UWA: Dr Arman Siahvashi, a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow from the Australian Centre for LNG Futures, Dr Sam Buckberry, a Postdoctoral Research Development Fellow from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences and Dr Chris Brennan-Jones, a Senior Research Fellow at the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases.
Todd Bond, a PhD candidate in the School of Biological Sciences, was one of two UWA finalists for the Exxon Mobil Student Scientist of the Year and is using his knowledge of underwater video sampling techniques to understand how fish and fisheries interact with oil and gas infrastructure.
The second finalist, Penelope Strauss, is a Research Fellow in Youth Suicide Prevention at the Telethon Kids Institute.
Two UWA students were finalists in the Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year category: Simone Harrington and Shondell Hayden.
Ms Harrington is the the first Aboriginal student to undertake the combined Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Clinical Psychology at UWA while Ms Hayden is carrying out postgraduate studies in medicine and whose research focuses on Aboriginal health, specifically related to ageing and the brain.
The awards, a State Government initiative, were established in 2002 to honour the outstanding achievements of WA’s science and innovation community.
Winners will be announced on Tuesday 29 September during National Science Week, Australia’s largest annual celebration of science.