A paediatric anaesthetist, a world-leading plant ecologist and a resources specialist from The University of Western Australia have been announced as finalists in the 2021 Premier’s Science Awards.
The Premier’s Science Awards celebrate the exceptional contribution of Western Australians to science.
Emeritus Professor Hans Lambers from UWA’s School of Plant Biology, Professor Eric May from the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and Professor Britta Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg from the UWA Medical School were among the finalists in the Scientist of the Year category.
Professor Lambers’ research in the field of plant physiological ecology has transformed our understanding of plant-environment interactions and plant nutrition. His work has influenced practices in mine site restoration, informed efficient use of phosphorus in farming systems and provided guidance on effective combinations of intercrops for more sustainable agriculture.
Professor May is the Chevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering at UWA and 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.
Professor Ungern-Sternberg is the foundation Chair of Paediatric Anaesthesia at UWA and specialist paediatric anaesthetist at Perth Children’s Hospital. Her patient-centred research has led to significant global practice changes to paediatric anaesthesia and consequently, a reduction in complications.
In the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year, four of the five finalists are from UWA: Dr Naveed Akhtar, a Research Fellow with the Australian Office of National Intelligence, Dr Arman Siavashi, a Forrest and Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow from the Australian Centre for LNG Futures, Dr Alex Tang a postdoctoral researcher from the School of Biological Sciences and Associate Professor Edward Litton from the UWA Medical School.
Nikhilesh Bappoo, a PhD student from UWA’s School of Engineering and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, was one of two UWA finalists for the Exxon Mobil Student Scientist of the Year.
Nikhilesh is a biomedical engineer specialising in vascular engineering research and medical devices who has a vision to use medical research and engineering innovation to modernise and improve the quality, delivery and equity of global healthcare.
The second finalist, Niamh Troy a PhD student at the Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre, is conducting research to better understand the immune response to respiratory viral infections in asthma using computer science methods.
Danielle Headland from the School of Population and Global Health was a finalist in the Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year category.
Danielle is a Whadjuk Yued woman and emerging child health researcher. She is an Aboriginal Research Assistant with the Telethon Kids Ear Health team and has recently enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in Population Health Studies.
The Exciting Enthusiasm for BioDiscovery in Young Minds was nominated for Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year.
Based at the Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, it offers an experience where members of the public can use a purpose-built teaching laboratory within a medical research facility and is the only one of its kind in Australia.
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 August 16 during National Science Week, Australia’s largest annual celebration of science.