Predicting change, brains, trains and mental health

State Awards

“Trait-based ecology” enables Macquarie University’s Mark Westoby to explain patterns of species occurrence and abundance and to understand the impacts of climate change and changing patterns of land use. He received the $55,000 NSW Scientist of the Year.

Nanocapsules for drugs delivery: Frank Caruso is making miniature capsules that could better deliver drugs for cancer, AIDS and cardiovascular diseases. He won one of the 2014 Victoria Prizes for Science & Innovation worth $50,000.

Metals and Alzheimer’s: Ashley Bush is working out how the interaction of certain proteins and metals in the brain contribute to the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. For his work at the Mental Health Research Institute he received a Victoria Prize for Science & Innovation.

From the subatomic to finance markets: Anthony Thomas is at the forefront of subatomic physics. He is unravelling the rich and complex structure of subatomic matter with implications for our understanding of the Universe, and of the financial markets and climate change. The University of Adelaide researcher won the South Australian Scientist of the Year.

Plant energy: Western Australia’s Scientist of the Year, Ian Small, has pioneered research into how plants capture, store and release energy. Read more about Ian’s work here.

Understanding autoimmunity: Carola Vinuesa’s work has led to the discovery of genes important for immune regulation and is paving the way for the development of new drugs to fight autoimmune diseases such as lupus, juvenile diabetes and certain cancers. She received the inaugural CSL Young Florey Medal for her research at the Australian National University into how the immune system produces antibodies to fight disease.