John Aitken's ground-breaking research has elucidated fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating mammalian sperm function, fertilisation and early embryonic development. He has demonstrated that oxidative stress plays a major role in defective sperm function, linking this pathway to DNA damage and providing the basis for anti-oxidant therapy. John has identified a number of novel mediators of sperm-egg interactions that provides opportunities to both improve fertility and develop new contraceptives.
Marilyn Anderson is internationally renowned for fundamental discoveries in biochemistry that are critically important for global agriculture. Her discoveries include the nature and biology of peptides made in the sexual tissues of plants, which provide protection from attack by insects and fungi. Marilyn has been able to describe the synthesis of these peptides showing that it is possible to transfer the peptide encoding gene to other plants to enhance crop protection.
David Black is recognised as one of the world's leading heterocyclic chemists having made seminal contributions to indole (in-dole) chemistry, coordination chemistry and natural products. He is known for the synthesis of new types of organic molecules, and the discovery of new synthetic methodologies. David has rendered great service to chemistry by his engagement with international bodies, exceptional activity in the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and is described as a world-wide ambassador for Australian science.
Mark Blows has made key contributions to the development of a framework for understanding the evolution of complex traits. He has overturned conventional wisdom concerning the nature of the two fundamental components of evolutionary change; genetic variation and selection. Mark has shown that the strength of selection on multiple traits has been consistently underestimated, and he has gone on to show how selection changes levels of genetic variation, and how genetic constraints bias evolutionary trajectories.
Mahananda Dasgupta is a world-leader in measuring and understanding the complex quantum interactions occurring in collisions of heavy nuclei. She has made pioneering measurements of nuclear fusion with unmatched accuracy and precision. These have allowed elucidation of the complex behaviour of weakly-bound nuclei. She led the development of a unique superconducting reaction product separator, generating worldwide interest, and recently pioneered introduction of the concept of quantum decoherence to nuclear fusion.
Michael Goddard is a leading geneticist who has made innovative contributions to quantitative and population genetics theory, especially in the use of genetic markers in artificial selection programs in agriculture. Michael has developed statistical genetic methods to better understand the genetic architecture of complex traits which have been applied to quantitative traits across a range of species.
Trevor Hambley has established an outstanding career in bioinorganic chemistry, in the areas of molecular modelling, crystallography and medical inorganic chemistry. His investigations have led to new insights into the understanding of hypoxia selective cobalt complexes and metal based anti-inflammatory compounds. Trevor’s multidisciplinary research on metal anti-cancer drugs has traversed chemical, biochemical and cell biological studies in order to both design new drugs with greater efficacy, and understand the activities of existing drugs.
Staffan Kjelleberg has made major contributions to microbial ecology. His studies on bacterial adaptive responses and biofilm biology have received strong international recognition and have illuminated the predominant modes of bacterial life in the environment. His research has made important contributions to ecological theory and environmental biotechnology. Significantly, Staffan’s findings have laid the foundation for interdisciplinary research programs on interkingdom signalling and chemically mediated interactions between bacteria and higher organisms in marine systems.
Thomas Maschmeyer’s ground-breaking research in materials and catalysis has gained him international recognition. His innovative contributions centre on his gaining fundamental understanding of the design and utilization of catalysts at the molecular level, such as the seminal design and operation of catalytically-controlled active sites in porous solids. Thomas’ guiding principle of ‘selectivity tuning by active site design’ underlies discoveries from pharmaceutical synthesis to process intensification, and his renowned second generation biofuels research.
Ross McPhedran has made seminal contributions to the field of wave science, its techniques and applications. These have provided methods of unprecedented accuracy and insights which have enabled major developments in the performance of microstructured optical fibres, composite materials, diffraction gratings and photonic crystals. The multipole formulation has been developed as a major tool for solving scattering problems involving electromagnetic and elastic waves for applications such as spectroscopy and photovoltaic and photothermal energy conversion.
Joseph Monaghan is internationally distinguished for his development of the field of smoothed particle hydrodynamics. This computational technique is ideal for handling gravitating gas-dynamical systems, and has had an enormous influence on contemporary computational astrophysics, particularly in the vast cosmological simulations that illuminate the evolution of the universe. Smoothed particle hydrodynamics has many applications outside astrophysics, and Joseph’s work is distinguished by its breadth of application to astrophysical, geophysical and engineering problems.
Ian Petersen has made fundamental and internationally acknowledged contributions in the area of robust control theory. His results, on the Riccati-equation approach to robust control, enables robust state feedback controllers to be reliably synthesised using standard software tools. Ian’s research has had a major impact on the development of H-infinity control theory. H-infinity control theory is one of the most significant recent developments in modern control theory and it has been extensively and successfully applied to many practical control problems.
Robert Pressey is recognised internationally for establishing the field of systematic conservation planning and continues to be one of its leading innovators. His main scientific contributions are: new concepts and techniques that have increased the effectiveness of conservation planning across the world; a long series of intellectual advances that have progressively defined best-practice; conceptual and technical innovations related to the dynamics of biodiversity and human activities; and ground-breaking, intuitive software tools.
Mathai Varghese is a key researcher in the field of geometric analysis. He is famous for several seminal articles that contribute to several fields of mathematics and in particular the interactions between mathematics and mathematical physics. Mathai mathematical theories include: the Mathai-Quillen formalism in topological field theories; L2-invariants for covering spaces; the hyperbolic space and noncommutative geometry model of the fractional quantum Hall effect; projective Atiyah-Singer index theory; and, twisted K-theory and T-duality in String Theory.
Colin Ward’s early publications on the structural biology of influenza virus haemagglutinin have attracted international acclaim. His creativity, foresight and dedication over the past 20 years has led to the unravelling of the 3D-structures of the extracellular domains of four growth factor receptors important in cancer, psoriasis and diabetes. Colin’s insight has revolutionised our understanding of the activation mechanisms for these receptors, enabling the development of therapeutic agents.
Emma Whitelaw has contributed significantly to the field of epigenetics, clarifying the genotype-phenotype relationships in higher organisms. She pioneered the study of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, showing for the first time that epigenetic states can be inherited by the next generation. She established a sensitised dominant screen in mouse that is a valuable international resource. Emma’s research includes the study of human diseases caused by gene-environment interactions to identify novel targets for drug discovery, and markers to predict disease risk.
George Williams has made outstanding contributions across a wide range of fields in the Earth and planetary sciences through innovative research in sedimentology, palaeoclimatology, palaeomagnetism, meteoritics, and Earth–Moon dynamics. George’s discoveries and pioneering studies have illuminated Precambrian glacial environments, the geological and environmental effects of asteroid impact on the Earth, the history of the Earth’s rotation and lunar orbit, and early Palaeozoic Milankovitch orbital cycles, and instigated many new lines of research in geology and geophysics.
Aibing Yu is distinguished for his seminal contributions to the field of particle science and technology – the study of particulate or granular matter. He is renowned world-wide for the development of methods for the simulation and modelling of the motion of individual particles within large populations in flowing systems. Aibing’s research emphasises the importance of micro-hydrodynamic interactions between particles and their effect on the macro-behaviour of the system as a whole, and has many applications in the resource industries.
© 2017 Australian Academy of Science