2024 awardees

Outstanding contributions to science have been recognised by the Australian Academy of Science with 22 of Australia’s leading scientists receiving a prestigious honorific award in 2024.

The Australian Academy of Science's 2024 honorific awardees

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Premier honorific awards

Career honorifics

Mid-career honorifics

Early-career honorifics

Premier honorifics

2024 Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture


Professor David Lindenmayer AO FAA, Australian National University

Professor David Lindenmayer is an international authority on conservation and landscape ecology. He has discovered novel ways in which key drivers of landscape change interact to affect biodiversity, ecological processes and ecosystem condition. Through a pioneering series of large-scale, long-term studies in forests, plantations and agricultural environments, he has uniquely demonstrated how pre-existing landscape conditions combine with new kinds of landscape transformation to shape temporal and spatial patterns of species decline and recovery at multiple scales (from individual trees to sites, landscapes and regions). Professor Lindenmayer has also discovered mechanisms through which species respond to multiple natural and human disturbances. With his unique perspectives across an array of ecosystems, he established innovative strategies for the management of biota and ecosystems in Australia and globally. He has also developed new conceptual models and approaches for designing experiments and other kinds of studies to quantify the effects of multiple, interacting factors on biodiversity.

2024 Ruby Payne-Scott Medal and Lecture


Professor Kerrie Mengersen FAA, Queensland University of Technology

Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen’s 35 year post-PhD research career has focused on the development of new statistical methodology motivated by challenging real-world applications. As a pioneer and leader of Bayesian statistics in Australia, her first 25 years focused substantively on research and translation of Bayesian methods and computational algorithms. In the last decade, her research has expanded further to embrace new types of data and data science, with the former including digital and citizen science data, and the latter focused on the intersection between statistics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Professor Mengersen’s work is explicitly multidisciplinary and all of her contributions have been jointly developed with collaborators. She has maintained a career-long focus on engaging with and mentoring women in mathematical and applied sciences, and has more recently had the pleasure and honour of working with Indigenous Australian researchers.

Career honorifics

2024 David Craig Medal and Lecture


Professor Justin Gooding FAA FTSE, University of New South Wales

Professor Justin Gooding is an international leader in the field of surface chemistry; in particular, he is renowned as a leading authority in the modification of surfaces for the development of better sensing devices. Characterised by using molecular to nanoscale control, his science systematically addresses fundamental questions in electrochemistry and biology, as well as general challenges facing many sensors and analytical devices. He has made outstanding contributions to fundamental and applied research using self-assembled monolayers to fabricate molecular scale constructs on surfaces that provided new measurement tools. Professor Gooding’s work has shown not only how to design and fabricate sophisticated surface architecture for sensing, but he has also changed thinking on both the level of control that is possible and the types of information that can be acquired using that control.

2024 Haddon Forrester King Medal


Professor Stephen Cox, Australian National University

Professor Stephen Cox has conducted research spanning the fields of experimental rock deformation, field-based structural geology, microstructural analysis, isotope geochemistry, seismology and numerical simulation to explore how fluid migration deep in Earth’s crust triggers earthquakes and generates the high permeabilities necessary to sustain the development of many types of ore deposits whose formation involves large fluxes of metal-bearing fluids. His research is providing new understanding of the dynamic coupling between fluid flow, deformation processes, and reaction involved in the formation of ore deposits. It is also providing insight into how the structure of seismically-active fault networks localises fluid migration pathways and ore deposit location at depth in the Earth’s crust. These new perspectives are critical to developing more effective strategies during exploration for Earth resources. Professor Cox has demonstrated a consistent commitment to sharing his knowledge via undergraduate teaching, training research students, and providing training courses for minerals industry geoscientists, both nationally and internationally.

2024 Ian Wark Medal and Lecture


Professor Anthony Weiss AM FTSE, University of Sydney

Professor Anthony Weiss is the international leader on studies and applications of the key human elastic protein needed for resilience and recoil in skin and blood vessels. His scientific innovations have facilitated its commercial translation in one of Australia’s largest healthcare transactions. Professor Weiss’s scientific leadership has defined tropoelastin’s shape, elucidated how cells respond to tropoelastin through specific molecules called integrins and their binding mechanisms, defined how to modulate self-assembly, and articulated the rules governing this assembly process. He has created intricate elastic architectures tailored to specific biomedical applications that orchestrate cell growth and enhance tissue repair.

2024 Mawson Medal and Lecture


Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz, University of Sydney

Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz is an innovative geologist who has pioneered the use of vast amounts of deep-sea drilling data collected over the last 50 years to advance our understanding of deep-sea sedimentation and the long-term carbon cycle. Her digital global map of deep-sea sediments is the first of its kind. The detailed tapestry of sediments it portrays represents a quantum leap from hand-drawn maps, enabling new and quantitative research directions. In other advances, she and her team linked deep-sea sediments and plate tectonics to compute fluctuations in marine carbon storage, provided insights into the formation of manganese nodules, and linked discontinuities in the geological record to bottom current intensity. Dr Dutkiewicz’s research connects traditional sedimentology with big data analysis and emerging machine learning methods, playing a transformative role in this field. In addition, she was the first to discover Archaean and early Proterozoic oil preserved within fluid inclusions, challenging long-held ideas about the temperature limits of hydrocarbon survival and the composition of the early biosphere.

2024 Suzanne Cory Medal


Professor Peter Koopman FAA, University of Queensland

Professor Peter Koopman’s research focuses on how genes function as the blueprint for embryonic development. He is best known for his role in discovering the Y-chromosomal sex-determining gene Sry, widely acknowledged as a milestone in 20th century genetics. His subsequent work has exposed the molecular, genetic and cellular pathways by which the gonads form in the embryo, addressing the essential question of how males and females come to be. In parallel, Professor Koopman discovered several Sry-related (Sox) genes including those that act as master regulators of skeletal and vascular development. These achievements have had broad and enduring impact in developmental biology, medical genetics and reproductive biology.


Mid-career honorifics

2024 Gustav Nossal Medal


Professor Andrew Steer, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Professor Andrew Steer is a paediatric infectious diseases physician and Director of the Infection and Immunity Theme at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. He is an international authority on tropical infectious diseases. His research has established global community-based treatment programs for tropical skin infections, influenced vaccine development for Strep A disease, and introduced diagnostic technologies and control programs for rheumatic heart disease. Professor Steer is a global and national leader in these fields, evidenced by scientific leadership roles, including as Co-Chair of the Strep A Global Vaccine Consortium, Co-Director of the Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative and Director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Scabies Control. 

2024 Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science


Professor Anita Ho-Baillie, University of Sydney

Professor Anita Ho-Baillie is a pioneer in developing next-generation solar cells which will play a key role in the transition to a carbon-free-economy. Traditional silicon-based solar cells are inefficient at converting high-energy light into electricity. Professor Ho-Baillie’s research centers on multi-junction solar cells, utilising a range of semiconductor materials to absorb different sections of the solar spectrum within a single cell, significantly enhancing energy conversion efficiency. She has achieved record efficiencies for multi-junction solar cells utilising metal halide perovskites. Her recent breakthrough addresses the issue of perovskite cell degradation in heat and humidity. This marks a pivotal step toward durable, commercially viable perovskite cells and solidifies her role in advancing this technology. Beyond research, Professor Ho-Baillie is deeply committed to inspiring young minds in STEM fields and science communication. She is a regular speaker at the Harry Messel International Science School, engaging high-calibre high-school students worldwide. She is also a popular public speaker for science outreach, contributing to numerous National Science Week events.

Early-career honorifics

2024 Anton Hales Medal


Dr Andrew King, University of Melbourne

Dr Andrew King is an outstanding early-career researcher with an extensive body of high-impact work focused on climate extremes and climate risk. He has a prolific record of significant first-authored publications, including landmark studies on climate change projections in high-impact journals. He has been very active in the public discourse on climate change through frequent opinion pieces based on his research and interviews in newspapers, TV and radio. The significance and impact of his research and engagement have been recognised in a number of ways. He received an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award in 2018. He was the only early-career climate scientist on the author team for the Academy of Science’s report ‘The risks to Australia of a 3°C warmer world’ in 2021. He was the inaugural winner of the Science Outreach Award of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society in 2018. Dr King was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2021.

2024 Christopher Heyde Medal


Professor Serena Dipierro, University of Western Australia

After moving to Australia, first to the University of Melbourne and then to the University of Western Australia, Professor Serena Dipierro has significantly contributed to several fields in mathematical analysis, partial differential equations, nonlocal equations and free boundary problems. A characteristic treat in Professor Dipierro’s research consists in the fine analysis of the special patterns created by the interplay between nonlinear and nonlocal structures, also in light of motivations coming from biology and physics. Her works established the regularity properties and the geometric features of the interfaces arising from phase transitions, with special attention to the brand-new, and often very surprising, phenomena produced by far-away particle interactions and by the energy contributions ‘coming from infinity’. Her findings comprise the solution to challenging problems and the opening of brand-new lines of research, which will remain as a solid source of inspiration for future investigations on a number of emerging topics.

2024 Christopher Heyde Medal


Dr Christopher Lustri, University of Sydney

It is often impossible to write down exact mathematical expressions to perfectly describe extremely complex natural systems such as the collective behaviour of a colony of ants, gravitational waves generated by orbiting black holes, or the flow of air over an aircraft’s wing. Asymptotic approximation theory can accurately predict how these complicated systems will change and evolve, even when they are far too complicated to solve exactly. Dr Christopher Lustri is an expert in developing new asymptotic approximation methods that capture important behaviour which is hidden from widely-used classical approximation techniques. Using these new methods, he has resolved open mathematical problems arising in practical scientific settings, such as explaining the shape of waves that form behind submerged obstacles, or the energy loss experienced by pulses in laboratory particle chains. He discovered that complex discrete systems contain important ‘tipping points’ that were previously unknown. If subtle changes are made to how the system is set up when the system is near one of these points, its behaviour can change dramatically. Dr Lustri’s methods make it possible to accurately capture how systems behave when they are near these tipping points.

2024 Dorothy Hill Medal


Associate Professor Ailie Gallant, Monash University

Swings between seasons and years of high and low precipitation are ubiquitous in Australia, leading to our reputation as a land of ‘droughts and flooding rains’. But characterising these precipitation see-saws, and understanding the underlying causes of this variability, remains somewhat elusive. To this end, Associate Professor Ailie Gallant’s work has focused on trying to understand how bad Australian droughts can get using multiple lines of evidence, and by working to understand the underlying causes of precipitation variability and drought. Her work has examined observations to understand how the characteristics of drought vary and have changed, and how these characteristics covary with other climate extremes such as extreme heat and rainfall. She has worked on methodologies to define droughts; from rapidly-onsetting ‘flash droughts’ through to multi-year droughts. She has worked on extending hydroclimatic records using proxies like tree rings and corals to find where modern droughts fit relative to longer-term estimates of climate variability. More recently, Associate Professor Gallant’s team has focused attention on understanding how precipitation is regulated by both large-scale drivers, like El Niño, right down to the weather-scale. Specifically, her team has identified a strong role for heavy rainfall, which may consist of only around a week or so’s worth of rainfall, in ‘making’ or ‘breaking’ droughts; with an absence of significant rainfall during drought conditions, and a return or enhancement following drought conditions. In an era of global warming, understanding the causes and nature of drought is essential to determine any effect of climate change.

2024 Fenner Medal


Associate Professor Ana Martins Sequeira, Australian National University

Associate Professor Ana Martins Sequeira is a world-class researcher in marine ecology, focused on the development and application of innovative analytical methods to assist conservation of marine megafauna species such as whales, sharks and turtles. She is interested in understanding patterns of marine biodiversity across the entire planet, particularly those with relevance to assist conservation management. She pioneered the development of statistical models to predict the global occurrence of highly migratory species, and provided the first global assessment of potential human impacts on marine megafauna. She also built large international teams to promote data collection on the global movement of marine megafauna, which has ensured better evidence-based policy to conserve these threatened, charismatic species. Associate Professor Martins Sequeira’s research has helped to change the conservation status of vulnerable species, driven international efforts that shaped the discipline of marine biologging, and championed data sharing of marine megafauna tracks. Her ability to translate academic science to practical outcomes has deep implications for how we sustain biodiversity in our oceans.

2024 Frederick White Medal


Dr Hamish Clarke, University of Melbourne

Wildfires are part of life. Not just in Australia, but all over the world. If we’re going to live with fire, we’d better get to know it. This is according to Dr Hamish Clarke, who studies climate change effects on bushfire risk: how a warming world changes the chances of fire-related threats being realised. His research ranges from the drivers of fire (think fuel, dryness, weather and ignitions), to impacts on people, property and the environment, to prescribed burning. For Dr Clarke, science is half the puzzle – the other half is working closely with fire managers and the community, to understand their values and work to get everyone on the same page. His research shows that the increasing fire weather conditions we currently see could be a prelude to something much worse without strong climate change action. It is also paving a path to quantitative, risk-based approaches to fire management.

2024 Gottschalk Medal


Professor Eric Chow, Monash University

Approximately 570,000 cancer cases in women and 60,000 in men are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus transmitted through sexual contact causing cervical, throat, genital and anal cancers. The HPV vaccine can protect women from cervical cancers, but Professor Eric Chow’s work has shown that the same vaccine can also protect men from HPV-related throat and ano-genital cancers, paving the way for new vaccination strategies, particularly in men. In the area of gonorrhoea transmission (more than 82 million cases world-wide annually), his research has identified kissing as the major means of transmission – rewriting 100-year-old paradigms. This finding will drive changes in future sexual health education programs relating to safer sex. Professor Chow has also contributed greatly to understanding changes in transmission of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in the COVID-19 pandemic, and emerging outbreaks of non-classical STIs such as hepatitis A and mpox. Cumulatively, he has made an exceptional contribution to the field of sexual health.

2024 Gottschalk Medal


Associate Professor Kirsty Short, University of Queensland

Associate Professor Kirsty Short’s work focuses on pandemic preparedness, with a specific goal to use basic research to improve clinical care and public health policy in the case of a viral outbreak. She has provided some of the first clinical and experimental evidence that overweight, obesity and diabetes affect the severity of both influenza and COVID-19. Associate Professor Short has also played an important role in defining the role of children in spreading SARSCoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Her work has resulted in high impact publications, improved public health and clinical care.

2024 John Booker Medal


Associate Professor Lining Arnold Ju, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Lining (Arnold) Ju’s revolutionary research in biomechanics and mechanobiology has led to crucial discoveries, including how cells use single receptors to ‘sense’, ‘read’ and ‘respond’ to mechanical cues by converting them into biological messages. This process helps us understand the mechanical way cells interact with their environment and communicate with each other. As the first engineer and first University of Sydney recipient of the prestigious Snow Fellowship, he has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to advancing biomechanical engineering. His vision involves creating a tiny device that predicts blood clotting tendency and warns people at risk of heart attacks or strokes, potentially saving numerous lives in Australia and around the world. Associate Professor Ju’s innovative contributions to biomechanical engineering have the potential to revolutionise diagnostics and surgical tools, ultimately improving countless lives by applying state-of-the-art engineering principles to critical healthcare challenges.

2024 Le Fèvre Medal


Professor Yao Zheng, University of Adelaide

Professor Yao Zheng is an internationally recognised chemical engineer focused on the principles of catalysis and energy materials chemistry for green hydrogen production – a vital component for both environmental and economic sustainability and key to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. By harnessing renewable energy sources, green hydrogen can be utilised in fuel cells for electricity generation and electrochemical processes to synthesise various commodity chemicals, such as ammonia, methanol and oxygenates, as alternatives to fossil fuels. Professor Zheng and his team discovered they could directly produce ultrapure hydrogen from raw and untreated seawater by electrolysis, instead of requiring rare highly purified deionised water. This groundbreaking technology can be scaled up to industry-level applications and pilot plants. These processes hold significant potential to drive towards greener industries and reduce pressure on freshwater availability in Australia, and in turn, revolutionise Australia’s green hydrogen industry. His cutting-edge work is part of the essential wave of disruptive and transformative innovation and research aimed at building more sustainable societies.

2024 Pawsey Medal


Associate Professor Jiajia Zhou, University of Technology Sydney

Associate Professor Jiajia Zhou creates and applies nanoparticles that become luminescent in precise ways in response to light and heat. These nanoparticles are the basis for nanosized sensors, the world’s smallest and most sensitive thermometer and ways to test for minute quantities of single-molecule proteins and oligos.
She works with Australian companies to apply her discoveries in diverse areas. One is a device that can accurately profile milk proteins in an hour, so farmers and producers can control for milk without unwanted proteins. Another is a single molecule antigen rapid test (SMART) to monitor mutations of the spike proteins on new strains of COVID virus. Innovative tests that Associate Professor Zhou recently developed have also been proposed for rapid diagnostics of foodborne pathogens. She now leads UTS’s team in a new ARC Centre of Excellence for quantum biotechnology that aims to develop quantum technologies that can observe biological processes.

2024 Ruth Stephens Gani Medal


Dr Sonia Shah, University of Queensland

Dr Sonia Shah’s research uses innovative statistical genomics approaches applied to human genomic and health data to advance understanding, improve prevention and identify new avenues for treatment for cardiovascular disease. Her research has led to new insights into heart failure biology and shifted our understanding of the genetic risk factors for familial hypercholesterolemia, impacting patient management in the UK. Dr Shah’s current research focuses on understanding cardiovascular risk in understudied groups, such as women and genetically diverse groups, in whom current tools for identifying high-risk individuals are less accurate, with the goal of developing more effective tools for disease prevention in these groups and ensuring more equitable translation of genomics research.

2024 Ruth Stephens Gani Medal


Dr Stephin Vervoort, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Accurate control of gene expression is essential for health and deregulation of these processes can result in disease. A key regulator of gene expression is RNA Polymerase II (RNAPII), an enzyme that reads our DNA’s genetic information. Mutations that affect RNAPII’s function can give rise to cancers, and RNAPII dysregulation is recognised as a hallmark of cancers. As such, the RNAPII pathway is a prime candidate for the development of novel anti-cancer treatments. Despite the importance of tightly regulated gene expression in biology, the mechanistic control of this process remains incompletely understood. Dr Stephin Vervoort’s innovative approach to understand RNAPII regulation uses genome-wide analyses paired with computational methods. His work has resulted in ground-breaking discoveries of fundamental regulatory mechanisms of RNAPII-driven gene expression, uncovering how these are dysregulated in cancer, and which component can be targeted therapeutically in cancer. Ultimately, he aims to develop drugs that prevent these cellular processes from malfunctioning.

About the honorific awards

Central to the purpose of the Academy is the recognition and support of outstanding contributions to the advancement of science.

Nominations for the 2025 honorific awards are open until 1 May.

Find out more about these and other Academy awards and funding schemes.

Read the Academy’s media release announcing the 2024 honorific awardees.

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science