ATA Scientific would like to thank all those that participated in our July 2021 Encouragement Award promotion.

Many believe a picture says a thousand words, but a picture with a caption (known as a meme) goes one step further and transports a message or a story instantly to a target audience. Memes are a very powerful tool that allow us to communicate our thoughts to like-minded people online instantly. This is what gives them their appeal – not a surprise given the average attention span of internet users is about 8 seconds compared to that of a goldfish which is apparently 9 seconds!!  In summary, the simple message is “Say it quick, and say it well”.

Our latest competition invited young scientists to explore their creativity and create a meme based on one or more of the five categories, namely COVID-19/ Quarantine; Scientific research; Life as a scientist/student; Scientists and sport; Animal friends for scientists.


Below is a list of the top ten memes selected to receive our award– first prize at $1000 and 9 runners up at $200 each.

Congratulations to our first prize winner, Cintya Dharmayanti, second year PhD student at UniSA Clinical & Health Sciences, University of South Australia, working under the supervision of Associate Professor Anton Blencowe.

Cintya’s research focuses on the development of a nanoparticle system for ovarian cancer drug delivery, tailored to target key receptors expressed on the surface of ovarian cancer cells. By using specific targeting molecules and pH-responsive polymers, the nanoparticles are designed to seek out and infiltrate ovarian cancer cells to achieve intracellular drug release, leading to improved treatment efficacy and reduced side effects. After my PhD, I would love to continue research in the drug delivery space to help improve the health outcomes of those that need it most. 

The ATA Encouragement Award will support me in attending a pre-doc training program in November 2021 (EMBL), and/or the 17th Pacific Polymer Conference in 2022, which would allow me to disseminate my work and connect with new networks (hopefully, in person)!

Congratulations to our runner up, Anton Nathanson, fourth year PhD student in the Biomedical Image Computing Lab at University of New South Wales, under the supervision of Professor Erik Meijering.

Anton is developing new technologies for designing diagnostics for human degenerative bone diseases, in particular osteoarthritis. His research combines cutting edge imaging, cellular biology, machine learning and big data in order to characterise the health status of human bone for the development of new diagnostic technologies.

Upon completing his PhD, Anton wishes to begin medical school to pursue a career in orthopaedics, whilst also being able to continue clinical research.

This award will be put towards attending ORS 2022 or similar orthopaedic conference to present the final completed work from his PhD.

Congratulations to our runner up, Lilith Caballero Aguilar, Postdoc Researcher, from Swinburne University of Technology; St. Vincent’s Hospital, working under the supervision of Professor Simon Moulton.

Her current research focuses on the development of drug delivery systems to treat cancerous tumors as well as utilising the delivery of bioactive agents for regenerative medicine applications.

Lilith’s career goals are to continue doing research, become a professor one day, and have her own research group to create novel biomedical solutions.

The award will be spent on covering the cost to attend the International Biofabrication Conference which is happening in September 2021, which will help me to present my work and hopefully meet new collaborators and colleagues in my field.

Congratulations to our runner up, Michaela Dobson, PhD Candidate at the University of Auckland, School of Environment, working under the supervision of Professor Kathleen A. Campbell.

Michaela’s research looks at the earliest evidence of terrestrial life on Earth in 3.5-billion-year-old rocks in the Dresser formation, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Initially interpreted as a shallow marine environment, recent research has indicated that the Dresser formations are terrestrial hot spring deposits. These hot spring deposits preserve biosignatures representing the earliest evidence of life on land, and aid in our understanding of the origin of life on Earth and possible life on other planets.

I wish to continue researching within the field of Geology and Astrobiology, hoping to refine our understanding of our place in the Universe.  I am hoping to travel across to Australia in October (Covid depending) to finish some of my lab work that I cannot do in NZ. This award will assist me in this travel. Otherwise, I will attend the NZ Geologic Association (GSNZ) yearly conference at the end of the year. This fund will assist with this conference.

Congratulations to our runner up, Maryamsadat Hosseini, PhD student at the University of New South Wales, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, under the supervision of Associate Professor Samsung Lim.

Bushfires may cause extensive damage to the environment and harm humans in populated areas. Bushfire susceptibility mapping helps to predict and provide the required management plans to reduce the adverse impacts from bushfires. Maryam’s research focuses on the use of evolutionary algorithms and statistical methods to create more accurate bushfire susceptibility maps. The result of her research will be useful for policy makers and managers to have better natural hazard management plans.

Maryam plans to attend a conference using this award which will provide opportunities for her to introduce herself as a new researcher in this field.


Congratulations to our runner up, Thomas Adams, PhD Candidate at the University of Newcastle, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, working under the supervision of Dr Roger Liang.

Thomas works on novel nanomedicines for use in viral-induced respiratory disease, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). His group use a combination of chemical and biological techniques to bridge the gap between formulation science and biomedical science.

It’s an exciting time to be working in the respiratory and drug-delivery space; the long-term goal is to design and optimise formulations that are brought to clinical trial. They could be useful for patients in the acute care setting and in the community alike, so there is incredible potential for clinical translation!

Thomas plans on using the award to attend and present his work at the CRS international conference 2022. This will allow Thomas to make valuable connections with like-minded scientists and promote their work to the wider scientific and medical community.


Congratulations to our runner up, Joshua Marlow, Postdoc Researcher, at the University of Sydney, School of Chemistry, working under the supervision with Professor Greg Warr.

Joshua is investigating ‘hybrid liquids’, new solvents which combine the best aspects of ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents for applications such as novel lubricants and solvents.

This is my first postdoctoral position and I’d love to continue in academia, continuing to research soft matter systems such as these.

The award will be spent towards registration, travel, or accommodation to attend either IACIS 2022 in Brisbane or an upcoming ANSTO User Meeting to promote his research and learn from others in the field.


Congratulations to our runner up, Sofia Dahlman, third year PhD student at Monash University, School of Biological Science, working under the supervision of Dr Jeremy Barr.

Sofia’s research investigates the diversity of bacteriophages, viruses that infects bacteria, in the human gut microbiome. More specifically Sofia is interested in temperate phages that can integrate into the host genome and cause phenotypical changes, for example increased fitness or virulence of the host. Now it is very much at the discovery phase, but downstream it could lead to increased understanding of what makes a healthy gut microbiome. In the future Sofia hopes to continue her research in this field either in industry or at a post-doc position.

The award will be used to attend the Viruses of Microbe (iVOM) conference hopefully in person in Portugal 2022.

Congratulations to our runner up, Laura Kate Inglis, first year PhD student, Flinders University, School of Biological Sciences, working under the supervision of Professor Robert Edwards.

Laura’s project involves creating an ontology to group metagenomes by their isolation source and examining whether the taxonomy or functional profile of a metagenome can be used to predict the isolation source. She is also examining how the number of prophages in a bacterial genome differs with different isolation sources.

I would like to continue with a career in research after I finish my PhD, but it’s still fairly early in my PhD so a different opportunity may come along, you never know. I like to keep my options open.

Laura plans to spend her prize money to go to the combined ABACBS and Phylomania 2021 hybrid conference in November 2021.

Congratulations to our runner up, Ferran Nadal-Bufi, PhD student at Queensland University of Technology, School of Biomedical sciences, based at the Translational Research Institute, working under the supervision of Dr Sónia Troeira Henriques.

Ferran’s research is focused on developing peptide-based drugs that modulate protein-protein interactions as a target to inhibit intracellular cancer pathways. His project includes peptide design and synthesis, cell-penetrating peptides, cell-based assays, and proteomics.

Ferran would like to pursue a career in academia after finishing his PhD, in the field of medicinal chemistry.

The award money will be used to pay registration fees to attend the 14th Australian Peptide Conference in Gold Coast, Queensland. At the final year of my PhD, this conference would be a great opportunity to share and discuss my research, and network with top scientists in my field to progress my career after completing my PhD.



But wait there is more!

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

For more information or to stay informed of other upcoming promotions please ‘Like us” on Facebook or contact us.