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

Recent world events like the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and demand for green energy have shown us that the most powerful innovation can be found when we see a different future and leverage science to create it. A once-in-a-decade report from CSIRO identifies seven global megatrends and predict their likely impact on Australia.

Our latest competition asked the question: Which of the 7 CSIRO topics do you think will have the greatest impact on Australia’s future? What do you understand these topics mean in terms of the effect they may have on your daily life?


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

Congratulations to Sue Chin Nang, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University, working under the supervision of Prof. Jian Li.

Sue’s research focuses on using an innovative approach to combat the current global threat of antimicrobial resistance (also known as the “silent pandemic”), by using bacteriophages (phages) – viruses that specifically target bacteria. While it has been over a century since phages were discovered, little is known about them. In recent years, phage therapy is starting to gain the credibility needed as antibiotics are becoming less effective in treating bacterial infections; however, the knowledge that we have on phages is not keeping pace with the exponential increase in the urgency for phage therapy. By shining light onto the undiscovered niches for utilising phages as anti-infectives, Sue hopes to maximise the therapeutic potential of phage therapy.

This award will be used for Sue to attend the 33rd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) that will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in April 2023, where international experts in the field of infection are gathered.

Congratulations to Ruchira Ghosh, PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, School of Chemical Engineering (Food and Health Cluster), working under the supervision of Associate Professor Jayashree Arcot.

Ruchira’s research examines how Protein, Vitamin B12, and iron networks in foods affect the bioavailability of Vitamin B12 and iron. Her focus is on the use of NMR to define Vitamin-Protein interaction followed by 2D CacO-2 cell model and 3D organoid models to understand micronutrient bioavailability. With this research, Ruchira is seeking find the best plant-based protein for fortification to improve a vegan diet. To date, she has understood, optimised, and employed NMR, 2D, and 3D cell models to understand the interaction and bioavailability. Ruchira plans to use this award to attend the NSA conference in 2022, where she will have an opportunity to listen and network with the experts in the field of Food and Nutritional Science.

“After completing my Ph.D. in Food Science and Nutrition at the University of New South Wales, I am planning to pursue a career either in academia or in industry working in the field of food and nutritional science. I am passionate about science communication and its application in our daily lives, and I hope to utilise my profession to strengthen the bond between research and the community.”

Congratulations to Charu Deepika, PhD student working on algal biotechnology under the supervision of Prof. Ben Hankamer at Institute of Molecular Biosciences (IMB), The University of Queensland (UQ).

Charu’s PhD research is primarily in bioprocess engineering, biochemistry and microbiology. Charu focuses on the development of high-throughput screening systems for optimisation a range of chemical and physical induction parameters for pigment production in microalgae and cyanobacteria. To date, Charu has developed a novel rapid and gentle cyanobacterial filament isolation technique and employed the isolated strains to develop a cost-effective in situ spectrophotometric pigment screening methodology.

The award will be spent at the International Conference on Bioprocess Development for Biofuels and Bioproducts, to be held on May 13-14, 2023 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This will provide her the opportunity to present, listen and discuss with expert’s and researchers in the field who could direct her towards openings for translating the methods she has been developing through her PhD to the industries.

After completing her PhD at The University of Queensland, Charu plans to pursue a career in either industry or academia focussed on microalgae biotechnology with continued passion towards natural bioproducts in circular bioeconomy and science communication contributing to the larger community.

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

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