Science awards celebrate 2021 academic, student and staff success
Two University of Adelaide scientists have been awarded early career research excellence awards - for their respective work in environmental restoration research and biocontrol strategies to fight fruit flies.
The recent Faculty of Sciences’ awards showcase celebrated research, teaching, leadership, professional staff and student success, including academic promotions.
Oyster reef restoration expert Dr Dominic McAfee was awarded The Daniel Walker Medal for Early Career Research Excellence.
Dr McAfee’s environmental restoration research is breaking new ground on how reef restoration projects are managed here in South Australia, with potential to change environmental conservation more generally.
Dr McAfee’s career has excelled since joining the University of Adelaide with an Order of Merit in the last year’s Daniel Walker category; an Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research, and being named as one of our five 2021 South Australian Young Tall Poppies.
A pioneer of biocontrol strategies to suppress and eradicate fruit flies, Dr Amanda Choo was awarded The Edith Dornwell Medal for Early Career Research Excellence.
Her research focuses on developing genetic strains for the use of agricultural and biosecurity pest control. She was the first in her research field to establish the CRISPR/Cas genome editing technology in tephritid fruit flies.
Entomologist Dr Erinn Fagan-Jeffries was awarded in the Edith Dornwell category with an Order of Merit.
Associate Professor Pukala’s research is directed towards development of new approaches, primarily using mass spectrometry, to obtain insight into the structure, function and interactions of macromolecules, with a focus on enhancing understanding of multi-molecular systems involved in disease.
School of Biological Sciences’ researcher Bastien Llamas received an Order of Merit in the mid-career award category for his work investigating a range of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms and host-microbiome interactions that facilitate human adaptation to diverse environmental and cultural stressors.
Associate Professor Llamas combines a range of advanced new analytical methods (e.g., long-read sequencing, genome graphs) to integrate past and present Indigenous genetic diversity from populations around the world into a new human pangenome reference.
Professor Gavin Rowell from the School of Physical Sciences was awarded the Research Leadership Award for sustained excellence in leadership and development of others, a contribution to building an enduring legacy, and a record of ground-breaking research.
Professor Rowell is the lead Australian physicist for the HESS (High Energy Stereoscopic System) and CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) facilities; and whose research interests centre on high energy astrophysics and astronomy with gamma-ray telescopes at around TeV (10^12 eV) energies and above.
Teaching excellence awards
Testament to the high quality of teaching across all sciences disciplines, several academic staff members were recognised in the Executive Dean of Sciences Awards for Excellence in Teaching.
These are awarded for sustained excellence in approaches to teaching and assessment which motivate and inspire students to learn as well as scholarly activities that have influenced and enhanced learning and teaching.
Dr Hayley McGrice from the School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences received the accolade for sustained excellence and reflective practice in teaching as well as leadership in learning and teaching in the school, faculty and University.
Not only has Dr McGrice implemented active learning strategies such as Team-Based Learning, flipping, case-based learning, inquiry-based learning; but she has provided leadership in scholarship of learning and teaching with Communities of Practice, helping to deliver demonstrator training for the faculty and as a key member of the ADEPT program (delivering education-related workshops across the University).
There were also four high commendations, reflecting the depth of applications received for this teaching award.
- Veterinary science educator Dr Rachel Norris from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences for sustained excellence in teaching and contribution to the Veterinary Biosciences degree. In particular, the panel noted Rachel’s innovation in the use of AR technology and student led discovery, her mentoring of other staff and the pastoral care of vet students.
- Nuclear and particle physicist Professor Derek Leinweber from the School of Physical Sciences for reflective practice in learning and teaching of complex physics concepts leading to the development of innovative approaches that help students to overcome cognitive dissonance and visualise difficult and complex concepts.
- Veterinary skills educator Associate Professor Michelle McArthur from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences for her substantial contribution to teaching in the veterinary biosciences by leading the development and delivery of an internationally recognised wellbeing and communication curriculum using innovative pedagogies (such as simulation-based learning).
- The Bachelor of Science (Advanced) team led by Dr Phill Cassey - for the special care and responsibility they take in designing and delivering curriculum, student experiences and pastoral care to the these students. The program has been coordinated by Dr Cassey with help from:
Excellence in Teaching – Student Led Award
All Faculty of Sciences students were invited to submit nominations of up to 500 words for a staff member (or a teaching team) that deserved recognition for creating a better student learning experience.
More than 30 nominations were received, and the awards were presented by Megan Jenssen, former President of the Adelaide University Sciences Association.
Receiving Student-led Honourable Mention Certificates were:
- Dr Beth Loveys from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine for extra devotion and pastoral care for students especially offshore students.
- Associate Professor Chris Wong from the School of Biological Sciences for pastoral care and mentorship during practicals and other classes.
The Student-Led Teaching Award for 2021 was awarded to Dr Adrian Hunter from the School of Biological Sciences.
Dr Hunter received nominations across multiple courses from many students applauding Adrian for the extra support given to students as well as the way in which he teaches. For example: It's so obvious he understands the student’s needs and has dedicated time to consider them when planning how he teaches the content.
The best PhD thesis produced in the Faculty of Sciences in 2021 was by Dr Karissa Barthelson, who is leading important research into Alzheimer’s disease, one of the leading causes of disability and death in Australians aged 65 years or older.
Dr Barthelson received The Harold Woolhouse Prize for the thesis entitled, ‘Investigating the effects of mutations causative for early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease using zebrafish as a model organism’.
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine scientist Ruchira Ranaweera was awarded the K.P Barley Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement in a postgraduate degree in agriculture or natural resource sciences.
Ruchira is developing a fast and simple method of authenticating wine – a potential solution against the estimated billions of dollars’ worth of wine fraud globally, but also offering a possible means of building regional branding.
Gender Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award
Dr Tina Bianco-Miotto was awarded the inaugural sciences Gender Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award.
The award recognises exceptional performance by a staff member promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the faculty and more broadly at the University.
As a senior lecturer in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Dr Bianco-Miotto:
- Led several EMCR initiatives to support and mentor our junior staff.
- Critiqued many grant applications from EMCR staff, providing valuable feedback to enhance their applications.
- Chaired EMCR forums with a view to understanding some of the issues EMCRs were/are facing across the School.
- Co‐Chaired the Women of Waite (WoW) network, organising monthly meetings, identifying motivational speakers for the network.
- Was part of the organising committee for the International Women’s Day event that was held at Waite campus.
- Leads a highly diverse research group of varied cultural backgrounds.
Professional staff awards
Three staff members were recognised for exceptional performance in 2021.
- Kiralee Vincent – the faculty's Senior Academic Support Officer based at Roseworthy campus.
- Dr Maïlys Stirling, the faculty’s Research Technical Services Manager.
- Lisa Laws, the Business Manager of the School of Physical Sciences and School of Biological Sciences.
2021 award recipients
|Academic promotion to Level B|
|Academic promotion to Level C|
|Academic promotion to Level D|
|Academic promotion to Level E||
The Edith Dornwell Medal for Early Career Research Excellence
The Daniel Walker Medal for Early Career Research Excellence
Mid-Career Research Excellence Award
Recognising research excellence, leadership and team building, and broader contributions and impact by a mid-career researcher, relative to opportunity.
Research Leadership Award
Recognising sustained excellence in leadership and development of others, a contribution to building an enduring legacy, and a record of ground-breaking research.
Excellence in Teaching Award
Executive Dean’s Commendation for Excellence in Teaching
The Harold Woolhouse Prize
The K.P Barley Prize
The Professional Staff Award
Recognises exceptional performance by an individual professional staff member in the Faculty of Sciences.