ATA Scientific would like to thank all those that participated in our April 2022 Encouragement Award promotion.

Our latest competition aimed to support #BreakTheBias campaign to celebrate International Women’s Day. We invited young scientists to imagine a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, that breaks the mould for women’s equality, and asked the question, “When we #BreakTheBias, what will a viable academic career path look like?”

We were overwhelmed by the response and received so many great entries.


Three entries were selected to receive our award– first prize at $1500 and 2 runners up at $600 each.

Congratulations to Samantha Miles, PhD candidate at the School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales, under the supervision of Associate Professor Luke Hunter.

Samantha’s PhD research examines how fluorine could be applied in a controlled way to medicinal peptides in order to improve their therapeutic potential, relying on both synthetic and pharmacological processes.

I am also passionate about the initiatives I’ve been involved in beyond the scope of my research that has shown me the value of science communication and addressing inequality within academia. I hope that my future sees me spend more time in these areas as well as in medicinal chemistry research.

The award will be spent at the RACI 2022 National Congress where Samantha has been accepted to give a talk on her research. This will be the first conference Samantha will attend in the course of her PhD. Here she hopes to form new connections with chemists and multi-disciplinary researchers in similar areas, that she can build upon throughout her career as well as learn about emerging topics that she is passionate about.

Congratulations to Leni Campbell-Clause, PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia, School of Molecular Sciences, working under the supervision of Professor Ian Small.

Leni’s area of focus is in molecular genetics, specifically, the chloroplast genome which encodes for a number of genes necessary for crucial functions within plants such as photosynthesis. Leni aims to expand upon current scientific understanding surrounding the regulation of these genes. Up until now, time-consuming, and laborious classical biochemical approaches have predominately been used. Instead, Leni is employing bioinformatic approaches for faster and more efficient alternative discovery routes. Understanding the functions of genes within the chloroplast genome and their regulation will allow us to more accurately genetically engineer plants, crucial to advances in agriculture.

“After completing my PhD at the University of Western Australia I am looking forward to pursuing career opportunities in either industry or academia centred around genetic engineering in plants. I am passionate about science communication and outreach and aim to use my career to stimulate change and improve the relationship between academia, industry, and the community.”

Leni plans to use the award to attend the Chloroplast Biotechnology Gordon Research Conference in Los Angeles next year. This opportunity will present her with invaluable opportunities to learn from experts in the field of chloroplast biology, enabling her to connect and collaborate with researchers alike.

Congratulations to Liam Krueger, PhD candidate at Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence (PACE), University of Queensland, working under the supervision of Associate Professor Amirali Popat.

Liam’s current project focuses on 3D printing oral dosage forms. With 3D printing the group can customise tablets to change the dose, shape, size, and many other parameters with the click of a button. By being able to 3D print drug-loaded tablets, Liam aims to be on the forefront of this new and exciting field. He wishes to learn as much as he can from leading experts in his field, and to hopefully one day become an expert himself. Using the award to attend conferences relevant to pharmaceuticals, Liam hopes to be able to take on board lots of new knowledge that his peers share. In turn he aims to use this to inspire his future research, and as a pharmacist he especially wishes to contribute something meaningful to our community. This award will be used to send Liam to the Drug Delivery Australia conference in November at the end of this year.

We would like to thank all those that participated. The next Encouragement Award will be posted on our website soon.

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