‘GI Jennie’, ‘Ant Man’, and the man who unboiled an egg to join Australia’s science luminaries

May 22, 2018

An Australian scientist who has revealed the hidden world of ants has become the first person from the Northern Territory to be elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Dr Alan Andersen, the world’s leading ant community ecologist, is one of 21 scientists* who have been acknowledged today for their outstanding contributions to science. This list also includes mathematician Professor Geordie Williamson, who at age 36, becomes the youngest living Fellow of the Academy and Professor Anne Kelso, who has substantially strengthened Australia’s position in global influenza virus surveillance and pandemic preparedness and is currently leading the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The new Fellows’ pioneering contributions also include: revolutionising the way e-waste is recycled; changing the way we think about carbohydrate foods; research that led to the detection of gravitational waves; and new insights into how the immune system may be harnessed to devise new therapies for cancer and other diseases.

Australian Academy of Science President, Professor Andrew Holmes, congratulated the new Fellows for making significant and lasting impacts in their scientific disciplines.

“These scientists were elected by their Academy peers, following a rigorous evaluation process,” Professor Holmes said.

“From 23 Founding Fellows in 1954, the election this year of our new Fellows brings our total number of living Fellows to 568. They join a prestigious group—six Nobel Prize winners and luminaries including Sir Mark Oliphant, Professor Nancy Millis, Sir Douglas Mawson, Professor Frank Fenner and Sir David Attenborough.”

The new Fellows are:


  • Professor Alan Andersen, Charles Darwin University (ecologist)


  • Professor Anne Kelso, National Health and Medical Research Council (Chief Executive Officer)


  • Professor Colin Raston, Flinders University (chemist)
  • Professor Greg Goodall, Centre for Cancer Biology (medical researcher)


  • Professor Kerrie Mengersen, Queensland University of Technology (statistician)
  • Professor Bostjan Kobe, University of Queensland (structural biologist)


  • Emeritus Professor David Blair, University of Western Australia (experimental physicist)
  • Professor Kliti Grice, Curtin University (organic geochemist)


  • Professor David Bowtell, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (medical researcher)
  • Professor Joseph Trapani, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (medical researcher)
  • Professor Peter Cawood, Monash University (geologist)
  • Professor Lloyd Hollenberg, University of Melbourne (quantum physicist)
  • Professor Rachel Webster, University of Melbourne (astrophysicist)


  • Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, University of Sydney (human nutrition researcher)
  • Professor Geordie Williamson, University of Sydney (mathematician)
  • Professor Christopher Dickman, University of Sydney (ecologist)
  • Professor Dacheng Tao, University of Sydney (computer scientist)
  • Professor Veena Sahajwalla, UNSW Sydney (materials scientist)
  • Professor Richard Bryant, UNSW Sydney (medical scientist)
  • Professor Martina Stenzel, UNSW Sydney (polymer chemist)
  • Professor Noel Cressie, University of Wollongong (statistician)

Find out more about our new Fellows, including a video on each one

*Professor Jennie Brand-Miller is known as ‘GI Jennie’ for her research on the glycemic index, and Professor Colin Raston received an Ig Nobel prize for creating a way to unboil an egg using his invention, the Vortex Fluidic Device. 

The 21 Australian Academy of Science Fellows elected in 2018.

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