The champagne corks were popping throughout September and October at The School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences and for good reason.
The School's new $60 million building was officially opened, and several academics were recognised for their work and achievements, highlighted by Professor Barry Marshall and Emeritus Professor Robin Warren being awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Professor Harvey Millar was named Australia's Life Scientist of the Year, Dr Ben Corry was named Young Australian Biophysicist of the Year and Dr Gavin Flematti was awarded the Royal Australian Chemical Institute's Cornforth Medal for the Best PhD thesis in Chemistry for 2005.
The story of the pioneering work by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren in the early 1980s in discovering the link between peptic ulcers and the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is by now common knowledge. In particular, the remarkable episode in which Barry acted as a human guinea pig and swallowed a concoction containing H. pylori to support his research. As a result of their collaboration, most ulcers can now be cured with antibiotics and the incidence of gastric cancer has been significantly reduced.
Harvey Millar's Life Scientist of the Year award is in recognition of his research on mitochondria in plants.
Gavin Flematti's award-winning PhD was a study of the chemical ingredient in smoke responsible for germinating native species of plants, while Ben Corry was recognised for his research in mechano-sensitive ion channels.
School head Professor Geoff Stewart said the entire year was exhilarating and worth celebrating.
"Professor Stephen Smith was awarded an Australian Research Council
(ARC) Federation Fellowship and Professor Ian Small was awarded the Premier's Science Fellowship," he said.
"To top this all off, Professors Jim Whelan, Harvey Millar, Stephen Smith and Ian Small, all of the School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences, were successful in obtaining ARC funding for a Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.
"All these achievements make the opening of the School's new building particularly appropriate because its state-of-the-art facilities open up exciting new possibilities for more groundbreaking work, increased collaboration and new scientific breakthroughs."