Thursday, 28 February 2019

A plant scientist from The University of Western Australia who made significant breakthroughs in disease resistance in the oilseed crop canola has been awarded the prestigious 2019 Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science.

The Nancy Millis Medal recognises mid-career female scientists who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and established an independent research program in the natural sciences.

The medal honours the contributions made to science by the late Professor Nancy Millis AC MBE FAA FTSE and recognises her importance as a role model for aspiring female scientists in Australia.

UWA recipient Professor Jacqueline Batley from the School of Biological Sciences researches crop genetics to enable breeders to produce better crops with resistance to disease and climatic conditions.

"I'm studying the DNA of plants to better understand genes that lead to greater crop resilience," she said.

"If we can improve the quality and quantity of crop production, this will have huge benefits globally.

"A major factor of famine is crop failure so if we can work out ways to improve crop production security this will have huge benefits to populations and the agriculture industry across the globe."

Professor Batley said she was honoured to receive the award and hoped it would encourage young women to see the amazing benefits of a career in STEM.

"Nancy Millis was inspirational and a great role model and I hope I can be a role model to other aspiring female scientists," she said.

"Science is so very important in our lives. It means what we discover is based on fact - not just an idea, and improves our lifestyles, our health and our knowledge."

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said Professor Batley was a great role model for aspiring female scientists.

"STEM is one of the fastest growing fields with so many opportunities, yet women are still under-represented," Professor Freshwater said.

"This is a fantastic example of the impact talented women can make to science and how they can inspire the next generation."

Media references

Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Advisor) 08 6488 6876


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School of Biological Sciences — Science Matters — UWA Institute of Agriculture — UWA School of Agriculture and Environment