ATA Scientific would like to thank all those that participated in our June 2023 Encouragement Award promotion.

Space exploration and our understanding of the universe is rapidly advancing. This includes looking for places where life forms as we know it could exist. If there is a highly advanced society out there our exploration probes could alert them to our existence. They could have very advanced technology, but would they share our concepts of democracy, freedom and justice?

Our latest competition asked the question:  Should we broadcast ourselves through the universe with the objective of making contact with other life forms? What advantages or dangers do you foresee with this potential contact?


Three entries were selected to receive our award– first prize at $1500 and 2 runners-up at $750 each.

Congratulations to Yu Chinn Joshua Chey, PhD student at the Genome Editing Laboratory, School of Biomedicine, University of Adelaide, working under the supervision of Prof. Paul Thomas.

Joshua’s PhD project revolves around the application of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) research. He utilises CRISPR to generate improved humanised mouse models that more accurately simulate DMD genetics, as well as to develop safe, efficient and patient-applicable gene correction strategies for the long-term treatment of this debilitating disease. The goal of these CRISPR therapy strategies is to permanently rectify mutations in the DMD gene, restore the expression of full-length dystrophin protein and ultimately help delay further progression of this disease.

“I had a great time writing the essay and am very thrilled to have been selected for the award.

I am passionate about the exploring the intricate biology and etiology of presently incurable diseases, and intend to pursue a career in academia upon completing my PhD. I aspire to make meaningful contributions to the field of biomedical research and pave the way for the development of effective treatment and cures,” said Joshua.

The award will go towards supporting Joshua’s travel to attend and present at XXIIIrd International Congress of Genetics, which will take place in Melbourne, Australia, 16-21 July this year.

Congratulations to Reem Almasri, a PhD student at the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, where she is supervised by Prof. Nigel Lovell, Prof. Laura Poole-Warren, and Dr. Amr Al Abed.

“Thank you so much for the wonderful news about the Young Scientist Encouragement Award! I am thrilled to have been selected as a runner-up and am grateful for your company’s dedication to supporting young researchers”, said Reem.

Her research group is pioneering a novel method of sensing biopotentials from biological tissues using liquid-crystal transducers. By utilising optical technology, these devices passively convert the electrical signals produced by tissues – such as the brain and heart – into quantifiable optical signals. Their experimental studies involve understanding the electro-optical properties of these sensors to design high-resolution multi-channel arrays and improve signal quality to achieve recordings that are on par with electrical systems.

Upon completion of her PhD, Reem aims to continue her research in the field of neural engineering. The award money will be used to support her participation in the 45th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2023) in Sydney, 24-27 July 2023.

Congratulations to Nuwangi Cooray, PhD student at Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials, University of Wollongong under the supervision of Prof. Konstantin Konstantinov.

Nuwangi’s research group primarily focuses on nanocomposites for health applications. Her project aims to develop biocompatible UV filters with suppressed photocatalytic activity by surface modifications through synthesising quantum dots encrusted nanocomposites via cost effective facile synthesis techniques. During her master’s research at University of Wollongong, Nuwangi developed a novel UVI based methodology to evaluate sunscreens. Her goal is to apply the synthesised transparent nano UV filters in new generation of sunscreens suitable for use in any part of the world by evaluating them against UVI based methodology under extreme UV conditions in Australia.

The award will be spent at the 9th International Conference on Nanomaterials, Nanodevices, Fabrication and Characterization (ICNNFC 2024), that will be held on April 1, 2024, in London, United Kingdom. This will provide Nuwangi with the opportunity to present the latest findings of her research, connect with the experts and have discussions to further expand her knowledge.

After completion of my PhD, I plan to join the industry where I can utilise my experience and knowledge to develop commercial sunscreens that can help prevention of skin cancer due to excessive UV exposure. I take this opportunity to thank ATA Scientific for the award and it certainly makes a positive change in my research experience”, said Nuwangi.

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

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