Lorne Proteins – SPIN to WIN Winners 2024

Our ‘SPIN TO WIN” Young Scientist competition returned this year at the 49th Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function, held at Lorne Mantra Hotel, 4-7 February 2024.


Creating oodles of excitement and anticipation, our spinning wheel competition featured the popular $2000 Young Scientist Award – First prize $1200 and runner-up $800. Two winners were announced following the final round on Tuesday evening – No bones about it – our helper Prof Barry Slim was ecstatic!!!


Congratulations to Solace Roche (UQ), winner of the $1200 ‘Spin to Win’ Prize! and Jessica Buchanan (USyd) – winner of the $800 runner-up prize!

Solace Roche is a PhD student at The University of Queensland, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, working under the supervision of Associate Professor Michael Landsberg.

Solace and his research team are investigating mechanisms of cellular toxicity and cell recognition associated with the ABC family of pore-forming toxins. Most ABC toxins studied to date appear to be insecticidal toxins, although genes predicted to encode for homologous assemblies have also been found in human pathogens. The group hopes to gain a more complete understanding of how ABC toxins function, which in turn will help elucidate how they cause disease in invertebrate (and potentially also vertebrate) hosts, and how they might be re-engineered for therapeutic or biotechnological purposes.

The award will be used to attend the Biomolecular Horizons meeting (22-26 September 2024) in Melbourne to share his research and facilitate new collaborations with national and international research groups.



Jessica Buchanan is a PhD student at the School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney working under the supervision of Prof Margaret Sunde.

Jessica’s research group studies natural functional amyloids, a rapidly expanding class of fibrillar protein structures, where novel and advantageous biological function is generated by the assembly of the amyloid. The group is interested in the structure and formation of multiple amyloid proteins and complexes including the fungal hydrophobins as well as those associated with the programmed cell death pathway necroptosis. Amyloids are usually associated with disease and loss of function including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. By studying natural amyloids in nearly all life forms the group wishes to inform the development of therapies for amyloid-associated diseases and guide the design of innovative biomaterials.

Congratulations to our winners!

For more information regarding our award or to enter the next competition, contact us or visit our webpage at https://www.atascientific.com.au/awards-events-training/current-award/

ATA Scientific continues to motivate scientists during Lorne Proteins 2024.

ATA Scientific has established a high reputation for supporting and promoting scientific research within Australia and New Zealand.

Our Encouragement Awards are competitions intended to promote the interests of young scientists early in their science career. The Awards provide an opportunity for young scientists to win financial assistance to further their education, including attending scientific conferences and meetings. The Awards were established 11 years ago and since then over 100 winners and runners-up have received financial assistance. We are enthusiastic about our awards program as we can see the practical contribution it is making.

The SPIN to WIN award is part of the ATA Scientific Encouragement award program that is promoted annually to assist scientists that attend the Annual Lorne Proteins structure and function conference.  The intent is to provide financial support to enable further collaborations with peers at scientific meetings and to launch scientific careers. The $2000 award is usually a single prize awarded at the conference at the end of the SPIN to WIN competition.

At this year’s Lorne event we asked our audience whether they preferred to have a single $2000 prize or instead split this up into two separate awards – $1200 first prize and $800 second prize. By splitting the award it would allow 2 students to win enabling more than one student to benefit from the prize money. We decided to test this hypothesis and the results and smiles on everyone’s faces were spectacular. If you missed out this year, be sure to check us out next year or enter our Encouragement award competition online!

For more information regarding our award or to enter the next competition, contact us or visit our webpage at https://www.atascientific.com.au/awards-events-training/current-award/