2014 Dean's Award for Excellence in Research

2014 Awards Bulletin
Celebrating Excellence in the Faculty of Science
In this bulletin we celebrate the achievements of a number of researchers and students who
applied to the Faculty of Science in 2014 for awards supported through trusts and
sponsorships. We congratulate the following award recipients:
Dean’s Awards for Excellence
The Dean’s Awards for Excellence were presented by the Dean of the Faculty of Science,
Professor Karen Day, at a ceremony in University House in June. The awards acknowledge
the excellence and commitment of staff in the following categories:
Excellence in Teaching: Small class/Later year––Jenny Martin (Zoology);
Tutor/demonstrator––Mathematics and Statistics Learning Centre team: Elizabeth Bailey,
Sharon Gunn, Heather Lonsdale, Robert Maillardet, Anthony Morphett, Penny Wightwick,
Susan Wilson
Excellence in Research: Research only––Nathan Clisby (Mathematics and Statistics);
Teaching and Research––Colette Boskovic (Chemistry);
Excellence in Environment, Health and Safety: Bryan McGowan (Chemistry) and Kate
Nowell (Zoology)
Excellence in Engagement: Outreach and Science Communication––Andrew Melatos
(Physics), Ed Newbigin (Botany) and Mick Moylan (Chemistry); International––Tim Jessop
(Zoology); Industry––Roger Rassool (Physics)
L-R: Anthony Morphett, Karen Day, Susan Wilson, Sharon Gunn, Mick Moylan, Heather Lonsdale, Penny
Wightwick, Colette Boskovic, Robert Maillardet, Ed Newbigin, Nathan Clisby, Andrew Melatos, Bryan
McGowan, Roger Rassool, Jenny Martin, Tim Jessop, Kate Nowell. Absent: Elizabeth Bailey
Rama Lokon and Michelle Livett
Bachelor of Science Medal (2013)
Rama Lokon: ‘After a confused year in the Arts faculty, I
finally saw the light and made the jump over to the
Bachelor of Science. I went on to major in Mathematics and
Statistics, drawn to the near universal applications and
often somewhat abstract problems, obviously never having
completed the transition to reality. Since graduating, I have
begun my career in the field of management consulting
with hopes of sampling as many different kinds of work as
possible in search of that dream career/the meaning of life.
This has so far proven a life-consuming challenge (especially
when it draws me away from my most beloved hometown
of Melbourne), but in between the spreadsheets and
conference calls I still find time to pursue my musical
passions and reflect longingly on a simpler time at the
University of Melbourne.’
Indigenous Engineering Pathways Scholarship
Adam Pyke (BSc): ‘The first year of my Bachelor of Science degree has been a deeply rewarding
educational experience. Finding a balance between the expected subject workloads and my external
elite sport commitments was sometimes
Adam Pyke and
difficult but I have managed to find a
Janet Hergt
sustainable balance which has allowed my
study to advance successfully. In 2015, I
intend to have a more active role in both the
Melbourne University Geomatics Society and
activities run by Murrup Barak. I will also be
representing the University in a range of
Australian University Games. I am particularly
looking forward to my study as many of the
subjects I intend to take are directly related to
Geomatics and I now know exactly how to
successfully go about a full university year.’
Trust or Sponsored Awards
We congratulate the following researchers and students who successfully applied to the Faculty of
Science for trust or sponsored awards in 2014:
 Dr Laura Downie awarded the Kaye Merlin Brutton Bequest
 Associate Professor Andrea Morello awarded the David Syme Research Prize (open to
external applicants)
Dr Chris Burns awarded the Grimwade Prize in Industrial Chemistry (open to external
Dr Lars Goerigk awarded the Selby Research Award
 Catherine Wheller (Earth Sciences) awarded the John and Allan Gilmour Research Award
 Megan Hirst (Genetics) awarded the Dame Margaret Blackwood Soroptimist Scholarship
and the Dawson Bursary
 Ashwani Kumar (Mathematics & Statistics) awarded the Muriel Ramm Science Bursary
 21 students awarded the Norma Hilda Schuster (née Swift) Scholarships
The David Syme Research Prize
Andrea Morello (UNSW) for Quantum
computing with single-atom spins in silicon.
Andrea and his team have developed the
technology to encode and manipulate
information in the quantum state of individual
atoms, while preserving the same technological
platform that underpins all of modern
information technology. This work lays the
foundations for constructing revolutionary
machines capable of solving problems of great
societal value, such as the design of advanced
materials and drugs, the optimization of transport and traffic, or the search through large databases.
Andrea Morello
The David Syme Research Prize rewards the best original research undertaken in Australia during the preceding
2 years in biology, physics, chemistry or geology. Value in 2015 approx. $7,300; Closing date: 16 January 2015
The Kaye Merlin Brutton Bequest
Laura Downie (O&VS) for Overnight corneal reshaping therapy as
a novel treatment for dry eye disease. A primary focus of Laura’s
research relates to the development and validation of new
treatments for dry eye disease. The standard of care for this
disease is currently supportive, rather than therapeutic, and often
inadequately relieves patient symptoms. There is a strong clinical
need for enhanced therapies. Funding from the Kaye Merlin
Brutton Bequest enabled the purchase of an Oculus Keratograph
5M corneal analyser/dry eye evaluation system. This state-of-theart clinical tool enables the objective quantification of dry eye
parameters in vivo and is an invaluable clinical research tool for
research in ocular surface disease. The anticipated outcome is the
the validation of a new clinical treatment for dry eye disease to
improve the quality of care for patients with this significant eye
condition. The Kaye Merlin Brutton Bequest supports early career
investigators undertaking research in cancer, diseases of the liver, ophthalmic diseases (in particular, the
neurological aspects of vision) and angina pectoris. Value in 2015 approx: $20,500; Closing date: 27 February
The Grimwade Prize in Industrial Chemistry
Christopher Burns (WEHI) for The discovery and
development of the dual JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor CYT387
(Momelotinib). Chris’s research has led to the
discovery of a drug for the treatment of the
debilitating pre-cancerous disease myelofibrosis. In
Phase II clinical trials the drug has been shown to be
safe and effective in treating patients, alleviating all of
their symptoms and significantly improving quality of
life. The research undertaken included the design of
the drug, tests to prove it safe for human use and
demonstration of activity in preclinical models of the
disease. The drug is now in Phase III trials and is being
developed by the US biotechnology company Gilead. The Grimwade Prize in Industrial Chemistry rewards
Chris Burns (photo courtesy of
the best original research in a branch of industrial chemistry which has been undertaken in Victoria during the
previous 5 years. Value in 2015 approx. $5,800; Closing date 12 January 2015
Selby Research Award
Lars Goerigk (Chemistry) for Quantum-chemical optimisation of
DNA structures and related compounds. Computational
quantum chemistry provides insight into chemical processes
through calculations rather than experiments but until recently
only small model systems could be treated computationally.
Technological advances have made the treatment of
challenging ‘real-life’ problems feasible, and makes quantum
chemistry a valuable tool in chemical research. Lars’ project
aims to develop new computational methods that can be
applied to large biomolecular structures, particularly DNA,
which are normally experimentally resolved by X-ray
crystallography. His research aims to replace the empirical
through a quantum-chemical model that is more reliable in the
determination of DNA structures. This will enable more reliable
applications in fields such as medicine, pharmacy and
biotechnology. The Selby Research Award is supported annually by
Lars Goerigk
the Selby Scientific Foundation. Funds assist an outstanding early career academic in chemistry or a chemistryrelated discipline to establish their research career. Value in 2015 - $18,000. Closing date to be advised
Catherine Wheller
The John and Allan Gilmour Award
Catherine Wheller (Earth Sciences) for The origin
and evolution of the high-temperature rocks of
southern Madagascar. With the help of the Gilmour
funds Catherine completed a successful one-month
field season in southern Madagascar to collect
rocks that have evolved through high temperature
conditions throughout Earth's history. The funds
covered airfare, the critical services of a local
driver/guide/translator, vehicle hire and fuel, food
and accommodation, and rock transfer to Germany
(where she undertook the primary analysis). Results
of the field season are so far excellent, and
Catherine is excited about investigating the mineral textures she has uncovered in relation to the
formation of the supercontinent Gondwana 500–600 million years ago. The John and Allan Gilmour
Research Award and the John Hodgson Scholarship, awarded in alternate years, provide assistance for a PhD
research activity which is part of a PhD program but is not normally supported by the student’s supervisor.
Value in 2015 (John Hodgson Scholarship) approx. $5,500; Closing date: 6 March 2015
The Dame Margaret Blackwood
Soroptimist Scholarship and the
Dawson Bursary
Megan Hirst for her research Adaptation in
Brachyscome. Megan’s PhD research aims to
develop a greater understanding of how taxa
from the southern hemispheres, particularly the
Australian daisy Brachyscome, will respond to the
effects of climate change. Her research involves
an examination of the physiological and
morphological differences in the genus
(particularly alpine species) through reciprocal
Megan Hirst
experiments in the Bogong High Plains, the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, laboratory and
glasshouse work. Her results will indicate how much resilience is present in the genus, whether
different species are more threatened than others, and whether particular attention should be paid
to some lineages that are currently restricted to habitats likely to change substantially in the next
few years. The Dame Margaret Blackwood Soroptimist Scholarship is awarded to a female postgraduate
student undertaking research in the discipline of genetics. Value in 2015 approx. $6,700; Closing date 9 March
2015. The Dawson Bursary provides support for a RHD student in the Faculty of Science in the biological
sciences. Value in 2015 approx. $3,300; Closing date 4 March 2015
The Muriel Ramm Science Bursary
Ashwani Kumar with
Susan Ramm-Anderson,
Muriel Ramm’s daughter
Ashwani Kumar is completing the first year of a
Master of Science (Mathematics and Statistics). His
research involves the development of a
mathematical model to improve patient flow in the
health care system and avoid waste (of both staff
time and perishable items). To ensure a sustainable
system in a climate of rising demand and limited
funding, utilisation of resources must be optimal.
Ashwani’s research involves the analysis of current
practices and developing a new, improved, method
for allocating and scheduling surgical resources.
The Muriel Ramm Science Bursary supports a Faculty of
Science student entering the Bachelor of Science (Hons),
Master of Science or the Advanced Graduate Diploma in
Science. Value in 2015 approx. $6,000; Closing date 30
March 2015
The Norma Hilda Schuster (née Swift) Scholarships
21 students were awarded scholarships in 2014 to support them in undergraduate study or
graduate research in the field of biochemistry: Yi Lin Kang; Rebecca Tan; Karen Steffi Cheung
Tung Shing; Jaclyn Lange; Kelsey Lee Picard; Bom le Choi; Danielle Maree Christesen; Joseph
Byrne; Stacey Erin Rudd; Brianna Steed; Gaetano Speciale; Joan Narciso; Yin Ying Ho; Dhika
Amanda; Wendy Li; Edgar Zhipeng Liu; Tessa Young; Dane McKay Vassiliadis; Michael
Leeming; Quinn Besford; Bethany Finger. The number and value of awards made in 2015 will be
dependent on funds available––up to $1,000 (MSc and Hons); up to $5,000 (RHD); Closing date 31 January
Further information and application forms for Faculty of Science awards available in 2015
are available at: http://science.unimelb.edu.au/scholarships and searching under the award
name. Our 2015 Awards Bulletin will be expanded to reflect the Faculty’s new structure.
Further details about trusts held by the University of Melbourne are available at:
http://www.unimelb.edu.au/unisec/utr/utr6.html and
For enquiries please contact Linda Richardson [email protected]
T: 8344 5949