Winner, BMC Ecology and Evolution Image contest
Dr Cornelia Sattler from the School of Natural Sciences won the 2023 BMC Ecology and Evolution Image Competition with a striking image (pictured above) of the invasive orange pore fungus (Favolaschia calocera), after spotting the bright orange fruiting bodies growing on dead wood in the rainforest within Nightcap National Park in northern NSW.
This is the third year that BMC has run the international photo competition, which was established to showcase the wonder of the natural world and to celebrate those working to understand it.
Dr Sattler, an ecologist whose own research focuses on insect pests, took the photo while visiting rainforest in Nightcap National Park in northern NSW.
“We were in dense rainforest, and it was almost dark, everything around me was green – and this shiny, bright fungus caught my attention; it was quite beautiful,” she says.
Returning from the rainforest, she found out that the fungus was not native to the area. “The fungus is originally from Madagascar; the spores are quite sticky and have been transported all over the world via animals and hikers.”
National Measurement Institute top honour
Honorary Professor Mark Taylor was recently awarded the National Measurement Institute’s Barry Inglis Medal for sustained contributions to Australian metrology at the 2023 measurement awards.
Professor Taylor’s research expertise is in environmental contamination in aerosols, dusts, sediments, soil and water, and the potential risks to human health. He has published widely on these topics.
He has developed new techniques to study contamination in a huge range of human environments. This includes blood lead levels in children, firefighter exposure to PFAS chemicals and soil health for residential veggie patches.
Professor Taylor is Victoria’s Chief Environmental Scientist at the Environment Protection Authority Victoria.
Read more about the award here.
Churchill Trust Fellowship awarded
Professor Bronwyn Carlson, Head of the Department of Indigenous Studies, has been awarded a prestigious Churchill Trust Fellowship to investigate community approaches to rethinking colonial commemorations and their wider impacts. In 2023 she co-authored a book entitled Monumental Disruptions: Aboriginal People and Colonial Commemorations in So-Called Australia and coedited and contributed to a global collection entitled, The Palgrave Handbook on Re-thinking Colonial Commemorations. This achievement builds on Professor Carlson’s stellar year, which has seen the release of four books, multiple keynotes, reports and her world-leading expertise across both the online and in-physical community space go from strength to strength. Find out more here.
Almost $1 million grant awarded to develop evaluation framework for high upfront-cost therapies
Professor Wendy Lipworth from the Department of Philosophy is part of a multi-institutional research team that has been awarded $999,541 in funding for the project ‘Development of a generalisable evaluation framework for high upfront-cost therapies: clinical, economic, ethico-legal, social and cultural considerations’.
Gene therapies repair faulty genes and may improve or possibly cure some serious diseases, however there is limited evidence on long-term safety and effectiveness. They can also cost up to $1 million per treatment.
This project, led by the University of Sydney, will develop a new approach to compare costs and benefits of gene therapies that will incorporate patient and stakeholder views and preferences and can be used by government to inform funding decisions. Professor Wendy Lipworth and Honorary Professor Ian Kerridge, also from the Department of Philosophy, will lead the ethics phase of the project at Macquarie.
ISAM Young Investigator Award
Senior Research Fellow Dr Hui Xin Ong of Macquarie Medical School and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, has received the International Society for Aerosols in Medicine (ISAM) 2023 Young Investigator Award. The award recognises scientists under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the field of aerosols in medicine.
Dr Ong’s research focuses on developing pharmaceutical and medical device technologies that can be used for the treatment of respiratory and infectious diseases, and methodological platforms to help promote the translation of new discoveries to clinical practice. She is currently working on establishing pre-clinical models to predict the effects of inhaled drugs in humans. The award was presented at the 2023 ISAM Conference, which took place in Saarbrücken, Germany in August.
UNICEF funding awarded to study the School Readiness Program in Timor-Leste
Professor Sandie Wong, Professor Rebecca Bull, Professor Linda Harrison, Associate Professor Fay Hadley, Dr Frances Gentle and Honorary Senior Lecturer Dr Kathy Cologon from the Macquarie School of Education have been awarded funding by UNICEF. The aim of the project is to design and conduct a study exploring the effectiveness of the School Readiness Program in Timor-Leste.
The School Readiness Program was developed in response to very low levels of early childhood school attendance in Timor-Leste, resulting in children often being ill-prepared for school and needing to repeat their first year at great expense. Working in collaboration with UNICEF Timor Leste, the Timor Leste Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, and research colleagues in Timor Leste, the team brings expertise in early childhood, assessment of child development, and rich knowledge of the Timor Leste context. This project will result in the design of a culturally relevant and robust evaluation of the program.
Third place for Macquarie team at national computer hacking competition
Macquarie’s Women in Cyber team placed third in Australia in the female-only category at DownUnderCTF 2023, the national computer hacking competition. Placing third in such a highly-contested competition is a great outcome for Macquarie’s team. CTF – short for Capture the Flag – is a computer security challenge where competitors race to find secret codes in the form of a text string called flags, which have been disguised within a deliberately-vulnerable program or website.
DownUnderCTF is the largest online Australian-run Capture the Flag competition, with last year’s competition fielding more than 4100 registered users and over 1900 registered teams. High school and university students compete for prizes in their categories, but the online game is open for anyone to play with people often joining in from all over the world.
Team members Izabella Lloyd-White, Zahlia Hamer, Yvonne Smith, Vrinda Maini and Evelyn Choukhman were supervised by Dr Natasha Fernandes, and they are all part of the Women in Cyber Computing Club which was formed this year to train female-identifying students in penetration testing and hacking skills.