A major international project, led by Alistair Forrest from The University of Western Australia and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research has been announced a winner in the 2016 Eureka Awards.
The FANTOM5 project was awarded the 2016 Eureka Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration. The project involved mapping the sets of genes expressed in our cells and is being used to interpret genetic diseases and engineer new cells for therapeutic use.
FANTOM5 started in the RIKEN research institution in Japan and includes 260 specialists from 20 countries, and 22 Australian researchers including researchers from The University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute and Telethon Kids Institute.
Professor Forrest said the human body is composed of hundreds of different cell types that allow us to see, move, fight off infections and many other processes that we take for granted.
“The FANTOM5 project, aimed to help us understand how the genomes in the human body are read in each of these cell types, to predict their regulation and understand how they work together to allow us to live normal, healthy lives,” Professor Forrest said.
“It has helped the careers of 46 Australian researchers, several of who have gone on to become directors of major genomic centres around the world.”
Also announced as finalists in the 2016 Eureka awards were a further five projects involving UWA researchers.
In the Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration category, Associate Professor Chunnong Zhao and Associate Professor Li Ju were recognised for their project that enabled the Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors to control laser power induced instabilities.
In the Interdisciplinary Scientific Research category the Murchison Array project was a finalist. The project developed a radio telescope which is operated by an international consortium of universities and research institutions from five countries.
Finalists in the Leadership category included Professor Johnathan Carrapetis who was recognised for his innovative global work to eliminate rheumatic heart disease and Dr Thomas Spelling who was acknowledged for his efforts to improve how serious childhood infections are treated and prevented through vaccinations.
The Eureka Awards, which are a partnership between government organisations, institutions, companies and individuals committed to celebrating the vitality, originality and excellence of Australian science, are presented annually by the Australian Museum.
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