UWA scientists recognised in Premier's Science Awards

30/09/2020 | 5 mins (including 2 min video)

A researcher from The University of Western Australia who has made significant advancements in understanding the molecular programming in cells which determine how living creatures function has been awarded joint Scientist of the Year in the 2020 Premier’s Science Awards.

Professor Ryan Lister is a pioneer in the field of epigenomics – the study of the molecular code that controls gene activity. His research into plant and animal systems has revolutionised our understanding of genome regulation, stem cell biology and brain development.

UWA’s Professor Lister and Professor Steven Tingay from Curtin University were last night named joint winners at the Premier’s Science Awards, which celebrate scientific achievements of the Western Australian science community. 

“These scientists have contributed to major scientific advancements that advance the prosperity and welfare of our community.”

Professor Amit Chakma, UWA Vice-Chancellor

Four other UWA scientists were recognised including marine scientist Todd Bond, student Simone Harrington, audiologist Dr Chris Brennan-Jones and geotechnical engineer Professor Mark Randolph, a former Scientist of the Year who was inducted into the Science Hall of Fame.

Mr Bond from the UWA School of Biological Sciences and Oceans Institute was awarded joint ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year with Morgan Cox from Curtin University.

Mr Bond has used his knowledge of underwater video sampling techniques to understand how fish and fisheries interact with oil and gas infrastructure. His work will help increase our understanding of the ocean and aid improvements to man-made infrastructure operations offshore. 

Ms Harrington was named Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year and is the first Aboriginal student to undertake the combined Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Clinical Psychology at UWA. A proud Kidja woman and active student ambassador, Ms Harrington was a finalist in the same category of the Premier’s Science Awards last year. 

Dr Chris Brennnan-Jones, a Senior UWA Research Fellow and Team Leader of Ear Health at the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases at Telethon Kids Institute was awarded Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year. Dr Brennan-Jones is an audiologist whose work has led to dramatic cuts in treatment waiting times for children affected by middle ear disease.

Internationally recognised for his expertise in offshore geotechnics, Professor Randolph founded the UWA Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) in 1997,one of the most sophisticated research and modelling facilities in offshore geomechanics and engineering in the world.

His leadership has established Perth as an internationally recognised hub for excellence in geotechnical engineering and attracted many world-leading companies as well as academics.

UWA’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma praised the work of the researchers for creating new knowledge to benefit humanity.

”Scientific discovery is vital to develop solutions to global challenges and expand our understanding of ourselves and the world around us,” Professor Chakma said.

“These scientists have contributed to major scientific advancements that advance the prosperity and welfare of our community.”

Media references

Jess Reid, UWA Media & PR Adviser, 08 6488 6876

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