A number of UWA staff are represented in the nominees for the 2017 40 under 40 awards. Get your vote in for the People’s Choice Award, you have until January 13 to vote.
Akram Azimi - The University of Western Australia Sociologist and Teacher
Akram Azimi is a sociologist, student and teacher at UWA and the 2013 Young Australian of the Year. At 11 years of age, as an Afghan refugee, Akram arrived with his family in Australia. Despite language difficulties, Akram became his school’s head boy and topped the university entrance exams before going on to study law, science and arts at UWA. He co-founded not-for-profit organisation ‘I am Other’ to bridge the social divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Over the last decade, he has done 3,000+ hours of pro-bono mentoring of disadvantaged students.
Peter Santa Maria – University of Western Australia Associate Professor
Dr Peter Santa Maria is a scientist and inventor at The University of Western Australia and an ear, nose and throat surgeon in the Ear Science Institute and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. He has invented multiple patents including a regenerative treatment for the ear drum, and a device that keeps patients warm during surgery. As director of not-for-profit SPARK Co-Lab Peter has helped numerous WA scientists and doctors bring their medical discoveries to patients. Within six months of launching SPARK Co-Lab, it has already helped teams invent five new medical devices.
Andrew Whitehouse - Telethon Kids Institute Head of the Autism Research Team & Disability Research Program
Professor Andrew Whitehouse is an internationally renowned medical researcher, who has helped make important discoveries regarding the causes and treatment of autism in children. His research has generated two books and over 150 scholarly publications, which has been supported by over $40 million in research grants. He is a recognised community leader in the disability sector, and has brought diverse group of stakeholders to generate new education, employment and recreational initiatives for children with disability. Professor Whitehouse is also a prolific science communicator, who has made a major contribution to spreading the opportunities that science provides for the community.
Callum Ormonde - University of Western Australia BioMedical and Nanotechnology Research Scientist/ PhD candidate
I have spent the past few years working in research to determine new ways to target cancers without the negative side effects commonly experienced by patients. My research benefits not only medicine but environmental and industrial science. A senior member of the Bionano group in WA, I act as mentor for incoming group members. My work has produced an entirely new means to harvest therapeutic molecules and has attracted attention globally from the financial publication Forbes and Time, who referred to my discovery as “a financial boon to the biotechnology industry”. Based at UWA and the Harry Perkins Institute, my work has also taken me to The University of California at Irvine. In 2015 I had the opportunity to increase awareness of my work in a discussion at TEDxPerth. My focus is creating drugs that alleviate patient suffering to improve chemotherapies now and in the future using nanotechnology.
Kevin Pfleger - Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research Head of Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology
I am an internationally-recognised medical researcher dedicated to improving the lives of those suffering from ill health in our community. I study how hormones, neurotransmitters and pharmaceuticals work on the cells of our body at the molecular level, in order to develop more effective therapies with fewer side effects. My research is regarded as world-leading by my peers, but more than that, it has enormous potential to change the lives of those suffering from conditions such as chronic kidney disease. Through my discoveries and inventions, and my spin-out company Dimerix Limited running Phase 2 clinical trials, that potential is being realised. All of this has only been possible through an enormous team effort from equally dedicated researchers, business people and medical doctors. I now want to accelerate other medical researchers along this path, surrounding them with the mentorship they need to create the impact the community needs.