Seven academics from The University of Western Australia and one science education initiative have been announced as finalists in the 2018 Premier’s Science Awards.
The Premier’s Science Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of the Western Australian science community. Award recipients exemplify the outstanding scientific research and engagement efforts taking place in the State.
UWA finalists include:
Scientist of the Year
Professor Stephen Zubrick
Professor Zubrick is a leading UWA researcher, based at the Telethon Kids Institute. He is one of Australia’s principal authorities in epidemiology – the study of patterns of health events and their causes – of child and adolescent mental health. Professor Zubrick has been instrumental in designing and implementing leading Australian studies of child and adolescent mental health and positively influencing the lives of children and young people in Australia and abroad.
Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year
Dr Haibo Jiang
Dr Jiang is a molecular scientist specialising in the development of novel analytical methods for biological applications in medicine. His research uses mass spectrometry imaging to better visualise molecules, allowing him to study lipid and cholesterol movement and antimicrobial resistance.
Dr Melissa O’Donnell
Dr O’Donnell is a psychologist at the Telethon Kids Institute specialising in child maltreatment. Using linked government data, Dr O’Donnell investigates outcomes and risk and protective factors for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Her research informs government policy and practice with the aim of improving children’s outcomes through prevention and early intervention.
ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year
Miss Lucy Furfaro
Miss Furfaro is a microbiology PhD student at UWA, specialising in women's and infants' health. Her research is focused on the characterisation and screening for alternative treatment options for Streptococcus agalactiae (also known as Group B Streptococcus) during pregnancy, which is a leading cause of disease in neonates. This research could lead to the identification of novel approaches to prevent and treat infections among newborns.
Mr Fernando Perez
Mr Perez is completing a PhD in chemical and process engineering at UWA. Mr Perez is collecting experimental data to create a model capable of predicting boil-off gas rates related to ‘rollover’, an issue which can lead to loss of inventory and create safety problems in the oil and gas production industry.
Miss Claire Ross
Miss Ross is a coral reef scientist and PhD candidate at UWA researching the development and physiology of corals that grow in high latitude reefs in the southwest of WA at their extreme geographical limits. Her research is focused on better understanding and predicting the future of high-latitude coral reefs in response to climate change.
Mr Arman Siahvashi
Mr Siahvashi is a PhD candidate in engineering at UWA. His research on low temperature measurements in hydrocarbons has promising applications in improving the distribution of some of the 37 million tonnes of Liquefied Natural Gas that Australia exports each year, worth over $16 billion.
Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year
The Virtual Plant Cell
The Virtual Plant Cell is an educational virtual reality initiative led by The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology. The ground-breaking experience lets audiences explore the inner world of a plant using virtual reality technology, taking them on an exciting and immersive journey through plant science. The aim is to help the community understand how plants create and use energy and address the global food shortage crisis.
Science Minister Dave Kelly said the awards recognised the outstanding work of WA’s local science community. “These awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding work of our WA science sector, both in scientific research and engaging the community with science.
“Advances in science improve the lives of all Western Australians, including through better health and medical treatments, protection of our natural environment, and new and better industries. The Premier's Science Award winners and WA Science Hall of Fame inductee will be announced at an awards ceremony on 15 August 2018, during National Science Week, Australia's biggest annual celebration of science.
David Stacey (UWA Media and PR Manager) 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716