21 September 2006

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hay, AC, congratulated three UQ women who won almost one-third of all Queensland Government Smart Women – Smart State Awards 2006.

Professor Melissa Little of UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, and UQ students Naomi Diplock and Bronwyn Galletly won three of the ten awards presented on Wednesday, September 20, by Minister for Women, Linda Lavarch.

Winners received $2500 and a trophy at the ceremony, which was held at Parliament House.

Professor Hay said the awards were significant in encouraging more women to choose careers in science.

“Statistics show women are underrepresented in science careers including information technology, engineering and physical sciences,” he said.

“The University supports the Smart Women awards and I congratulate the staff and students who received awards. UQ has been very successful in these awards in previous years, highlighting the University's success as a research-intensive institution.”

The Smart Women – Smart State Awards are run by the Queensland Government's Office for Women and showcase Queensland women working in or studying science, engineering, or information and communication technology.

The UQ winners:

• Research Scientist Award: Professor Melissa Little, who established the Renal Regeneration Consortium, a national collaborative and multidisciplinary research team. Professor Little has defined six possible long-term therapies that may be pursued to treat renal disease. The award was sponsored by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries.

• Postgraduate Student Award: Naomi Diplock, who is investigating the use of a naturally occurring fungus as a potential biological control agent for Parkinsonia, with promising results. The award was sponsored by UQ.

• Student Encouragement Award: Bronwyn Galletly whose project will help understand whether animals in the marine environment can evolve in response to environmental pollutants commonly found in coastal regions. The award was sponsored by Queensland Treasury.

The Smart Women – Smart State Awards coincide with UQ's annual Research Week, September 18 to 22. Eight up-and-coming UQ researchers were honoured with awards during the week, which has also included seminars and workshops.

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