Encouragement Award Nov 2015

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

Once again, we received a wide range of very high quality responses and have spent a number of hours considering every entry in an attempt to find a winner. As with our previous award, we have increased the total number of prizes to give away! The total prize pool of $3000 was divided into 4 prizes – first prize at $1200 and 3 runners up at $600 each. We hope that these awards will give our young talented researchers a helping hand to continue their work in building essential scientific knowledge.

Congratulations to our first prize winner, Mr Rohit Ranganathan Gaddam, PhD student at the University of Queensland, School of Chemical Engineering. Rohit is studying under the supervision of Professor George Zhao and Dr. Ashok Kumar Nanjundan. Rohit’s interests are focused on the synthesis of carbon materials from sources which are naturally available, non-toxic and affordable that will ultimately enable energy storage to be both easy and convenient.

“The ATA Scientific award is encouraging me to pursue my research in this field”.

Rohit plans to use his award to assist with his overseas travel expenses to attend a suitable conference next year.


Congratulations to our first runner up, Amy Cohen, third-year Medicine PhD student in the Department of Pathology at the University of Sydney. Amy works under the supervision of Professor Georges Grau, Chair of Vascular Immunology at the University of Sydney, and Dr. Valery Combes, Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Amy’s PhD project examines the pathology of cerebral malaria, in order to learn more about how it is fatal and to prevent and/or treat this. Amy hopes to continue working in the field of infectious diseases research following the completion of her PhD, and also to continue teaching others about immunology and infectious disease research and the importance of studying diseases like malaria in order to one day find a cure and hopefully eradicate this serious disease.

Receiving this award will greatly benefit her research, by allowing her to attend the international malaria meeting, “Molecular Approaches to Malaria” to be held in Lorne, Victoria in February 2016.

This conference will host experts in malaria research, and give her a chance to present to, receive feedback from, and network with colleagues, world experts, and potential collaborators or future employers – providing invaluable experience both during her PhD and afterwards, furthering her career in medical research.

Congratulations to our second runner up, Ms Shu Jie Lam, PhD candidate in the Polymer Science Group at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of Melbourne. Shu works under the joint supervision of Prof. Greg Qiao and A/Prof. Neil O’Brien-Simpson.Shu’s PhD project is focused on investigating the potential of synthetic peptide-based complex nanostructures as novel antimicrobial agents.

“Antibiotic resistance in bacteria has reached alarming levels in many parts of the world, whereby common infections, such as pneumonia, sepsis and diarrhea, in some settings have become refractory to available treatment options. As almost 70% of current-day infections are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, there exists an urgent need for the development of novel antimicrobial agents that are capable of overcoming antibiotic resistances. To date, I have successfully developed a new class of macromolecular peptide-based antimicrobial agents with demonstrated potential as potent antibacterial agents with superior biocompatibility”.

In August this year, Shu gave two presentations at the 250th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition held at Boston, USA. Her travel was partially self-funded. Shu has decided to use this award to reimburse the expenses incurred throughout her travel.

“I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to ATA Scientific for supporting my travel as it was a professionally rewarding experience and served as a stepping stone to my future career as an academic and research scientist”.

Congratulations to our third runner up, Karen Steffi Cheung Tung Shing, first year of PhD student at the Structural Biology Laboratory at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. Steffi works under the supervision of Professor Michael Parker.

The focus of Steffi’s project is to investigate the interactions between the Beta-common receptor with various protein partners, as well as developing inhibitors to the receptor. Several diseases, such as leukaemia, have been linked to aberrant signalling originating from the Beta-common receptor. Hence, understanding its biological mechanisms and inhibiting the receptor would represent a potential treatment to these diseases. Steffi aspires to become a structural biologist, while acquiring a range of skills as diverse as possible.

“The ATA Young Scientist Encouragement Award will help me in attending interstate conferences in 2016, where I will be learning about the most recently developed techniques, thus building up to a life-long set of skills that would be important for my future career as a structural biologist”.

We would like to thank all those that participated. The next Travel Award for 2016 has been posted on our website.

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