SOBS researchers win NHMRC awards
Brains and malaria share in the limelight of two School of Biomedical Sciences researchers who won prestigious NHMRC awards recently.
Dr James Bourne and Associate Professor Brian Cooke both received awards for their work from Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon at a black-tie gala event at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The NHMRC handed out 16 awards to Australian scientists – the highest honour at a national level - recognising scientific and leadership excellence in the health and medical field.
“I feel incredibly excited to win this award. Science often doesn't receive its deserved share of publicity in the public domain, and young researchers especially fall by the wayside,” said young neuroscientist Dr Bourne.
He won a Career Excellence Award for his work on the brain cortex, research which could one day lead to doctors understanding how to switch on the regenerative mechanisms in the brain following trauma to the visual components of the brain.
Dr Bourne was selected from around 400 grant applicants for the NHMRC’s Career Development Awards as the most outstanding early-career research scientist. Completing his PhD just 8 years ago, he won the category for researchers working in the field for between 7 and 14 years.
“To be recognised by my peers in this context is a huge thrill," said Dr Bourne.
Renowned malaria researcher Associate Professor Brian Cooke snared the Science to Art award for a microscopic image depicting the alterations that the malarial parasite effects on the human red blood cell.
The picture, which previously appeared on the cover of the Molecular Microbiology journal, stood out from its contenders with bumps suited as much to a lunar landscape as to a blood disease. Award-winning Monash science photographer Mr Steven Morton and scientists from the National University of Singapore collaborated with Associate Professor Cooke on the image.
“Communicating these concepts is paramount, particularly in the present era of new, sophisticated technologies and merging disciplines. Science through art and graphic visualisation capture all imaginations,” said Associate Professor Cooke.
Monash won a quarter of the 16 awards overall.