Fellows celebrated in King’s Birthday Honours

June 10, 2024
Portrait photos of three recipients
From left: Professor John Furness (image credit: The Florey), Professor Thomas Maschmeyer and Professor Kate Smith-Miles.

Three Academy Fellows have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to science, innovation and mentorship by being named on the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours List.

Professor John Furness AO FAA FAHMS

Professor Furness receives his AO “for distinguished service to medical research in the field of autonomic neuroscience and neurogastroenterology”.

Elected to the Academy in 1989, Professor Furness is a leading expert on digestive and autonomic nervous system research and is responsible for identifying the intrinsic sensory neurons of the digestive tract.

He introduced a chemical coding hypothesis which led to the identification of the different neuronal types that control the gastrointestinal tract.

He is currently a research scientist at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne, where he has been since 1990.

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer AO FAA FTSE

Professor Maschmeyer receives his AO “for distinguished service to science as a researcher, innovator and educator, and business through pioneering commercial technologies”.

Professor Maschmeyer was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation (2020) for translating his fundamental research into two pioneering technologies that address urgent global challenges, including climate change and resource limitations.

He invented a new, efficient way to convert renewable and plastic waste inputs into their constituent chemical materials for reuse, contributing to overcoming the challenge of waste recycling.

Professor Maschmeyer has also reimagined zinc-bromide chemistry to develop a completely new solar energy battery technology, making renewable energy safer and cheaper.

Elected to the Academy in 2011, Professor Maschmeyer cofounded two companies (Licella and Gelion) that continue to develop these technologies, which are now used globally.

He was the recipient of the Academy’s David Craig Medal (2021) and Le Fevre Memorial Prize (2007).

Professor Kate Smith-Miles AO FAA

Professor Smith-Miles receives her AO “for distinguished service to tertiary education, to applied mathematical research, and as a role model and advocate for women in STEM”.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Capability) of the University of Melbourne, Professor Smith-Miles is known for developing the mathematical methodology for stress-testing algorithms, providing a much-needed solution to the long-standing problem of algorithmic trust.

Elected to the Academy in 2022, Professor Smith-Miles has also developed the Instance Space Analysis tool for researchers to explore the strengths and weaknesses of their own algorithms.

She is also actively involved in mentoring and is an advocate for encouraging women to participate in mathematics, having been Chair of the Advisory Board for the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Choose Maths program from 2016 to 2021. 

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science