Tall Poppies bloom

UNSW has again excelled in the annual Young Tall Poppy Science awards, winning five of the 13 prizes on offer.

Tallpoppy logo inside

UNSW has again excelled in the annual Young Tall Poppy Science awards, winning five of the 13 prizes on offer.

The result puts UNSW far ahead of its competitors. Our winning research covers disciplines from climate change, methamphetamine use and HIV/AIDS prevention to plant ecology and molecular engineering.

The UNSW Tall Poppies are Dr Pall Thordarson (science), Dr Ben McNeil (science), Dr Rebecca McKetin (medicine), Dr Angela Moles (science), and Dr David Wilson (medicine).

"The Young Tall Poppy Science Awards recognise scientific achievers who are in the early stage of their careers and already making discoveries," says Australian Institute of Policy and Science Executive Director, Elektra Spathopoulos.

Instead of receiving prize money, the young scientists win the opportunity to take their research to school students around the country as part of the Tall Poppy Campaign to inspire a new generation to get passionate about science.

UNSW chemist Dr Pall Thordarson, 37, was recognised for creating smart self-assembling materials aimed at more accurately delivering anti-cancer drugs to cells in the body, and limiting their unpleasant side effects. If successful, this method for drug delivery could improve the survival rate and quality of life of chemotherapy patients.

A Senior Fellow at the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre, Dr Ben McNeil is an expert in the role and impact on oceans of absorbing billions of greenhouse gases. He is also an advocate of policies aimed at the uptake of low-carbon energy technologies.

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre's Dr Rebecca McKetin was recognised for her research focusing on the impact of ice (Methamphetamine) use on society and the best strategies to help treat the addiction.

Evolutionary biologist Dr Angela Moles, 32, personally visited 75 different ecosystems across the planet in a two-year odyssey to gather her data on the different ecological strategies that plants use when they grow in different environments.

In the process, Dr Moles, who is Deputy Director of UNSW's Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, uncovered surprising new facts about the secret lives of plants and what eats them, along with some important lessons about how they will fare with climate change.

And the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research's Dr David Wilson was recognised for his work developing models to describe and forecast HIV/AIDS epidemics. The models developed by Dr Wilson, 30, have provided important insights into the disease's key drivers and impacts on society.

The NSW/ACT Young Tall Poppy Awards are principally supported by the NSW Office for Science & Medical Research as part of Science EXPOSed. The NSW Tall Poppy Campaign is also supported by Macquarie University and the NSW Department of Education and Training, with national support through the Department of Health and Ageing.

Read more about the UNSW Science winners at Faculty of Science News.

Media Contacts:
Science - Dan Gaffney | 0411 156 015 | d.gaffney@unsw.edu.au
Medicine - Susi Hamilton | 9385 1583 | susi.hamilton@unsw.edu.au