2019 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science winners announced
Issued: 15 Sep 2019

Fourteen amazing young scientists and researchers from across the state have recently been selected as Young Tall Poppy Science Award winners.

Fourteen amazing young scientists and researchers from across the state have recently been selected as Young Tall Poppy Science Award winners.

The 2019 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards winners (Absent: Caitlin Curtis and Carlos Salomon — Carlos represented by Shayna Sharma).

The annual Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards are hosted by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) in partnership with the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist.

These awards recognise and celebrate people who demonstrate scientific excellence and a unique passion for science communication, and encourage young people to enter STEM careers.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Jodie Rummer from James Cook University who has been awarded the 2019 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.

Read more about this year’s award winning scientists and their research below.

A/Prof Jodie Rummer

2019 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year


A/Prof Jodie Rummer - 2019 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year @physiologyfish

Jodie is researching athletic performance in fish, including sharks and rays, under different conditions, developmental life stages, and across generations to determine how climate change and other human-induced problems will affect the future of marine ecosystems.

Jodie is a Principal Research Fellow and Associate Professor of Research at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University. She is a successful science communicator with her Physioshark research being highlighted in the media, including as part of an award-winning documentary and at the 2019 World Science Festival. She is actively involved in STEM outreach programs including the Girls in Science Forum.

We also congratulate the 2019 Queensland Tall Poppy Science Award winners:

Dr Carlos Salomon


Dr Carlos Salomon @cfsalomo

Carlos is developing early diagnostic tests for ovarian cancer and complications of pregnancies, based on the characteristics of circulating extracellular vesicles called exosomes. These nanovesicles have the extraordinary ability to capture a snapshot of what is going on inside the secreted tissue; thus, they are an attractive source for biomarkers.

He is a Senior Research Fellow at The University of Queensland based in the UQ Centre for Clinical Research at the Royal Brisbane and Women´s Hospital. His research has been widely re-published and cited globally and he regularly addresses community events, particularly local Lions clubs around Queensland and high schools in Brisbane.

Dr Stephanie Schoeppe

Dr Stephanie Schoeppe

Stephanie is a researcher who aims to get children and adults more physically active for fitness and health. In particular, she develops programs to increase physical activity in families through the use of technology like apps and wearable activity trackers and partners with local councils to deliver engagement activities.

She is a Research Fellow at CQUniversity. Her research has been the focus on many community presentations and been covered in numerous media articles and social media pieces.

A/Prof Dr Severine Navarro


A/Prof Dr Severine Navarro @NavarroSeverine

Severine is passionate about learning how the immune system works and wants to develop a new strategy inspired by parasites to promote good gut bacteria to prevent the development of allergy in children.

She is Team Head of the Mucosal Immunology Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. As the spokesperson for the Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research and the Children’s Hospital Foundation, she regularly speaks at community and schools-based events. Severine has given numerous media interviews.

Dr James Kesby


Dr James Kesby @JKesby

James is working to identify better treatments to improve the lives of those with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and ultimately intervene before schizophrenia develops.

He is a UQ Amplify Fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute (The University of Queensland), and has given radio interviews, delivered podcasts and authored an article for The Conversation. Recently, as a Flying Scientist, he spent two days in Chinchilla discussing science at the World Science Festival Brisbane events.

A/Prof Andrew Hoey


A/Prof Andrew Hoey @AndySHoey

Andrew is researching the roles, or jobs, different fish species undertake in maintaining a healthy reef system, in particular those that remove seaweeds. This helps fishers and marine management agencies understand which fish help coral reefs to counter being overgrown by seaweeds, caused by climate change and pollution. He is an Associate Professor at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

A past President of the Australian Coral Reef Society, Andrew has contributed to numerous policy submissions, and has also provided many presentations to national and international management agencies, community groups and school students.

A/Prof James Hudson


A/Prof James Hudson @jehudson85

James is studying human heart tissue, which has been grown in a laboratory setting to find new drugs that may be used to regenerate or repair damaged heart tissue.

He is an Associate Professor at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. As well as regularly engaging with the local community, James has secured significant media attention and has helped develop teaching resources.

Dr Sara Herke

Dr Sara Herke

Sara investigates the properties of networks or graphs, particularly tackling unsolved problems in graph theory. Graphs underpin a huge variety of social, biological and physical systems, with new applications continually arising.

Sara is a lecturer at the School of Mathematics and Physics at The University of Queensland. She is passionate about inspiring a love of maths in the next generation, has created more than 300 educational videos, and is currently developing new videos for interactive online modules at UQ.

Dr Laura Fenlon

Dr Laura Fenlon

Laura is studying how the connections between two hemispheres of the brain develop and evolve to help design ways to encourage brains to form alternative routes of connectivity when there are defects present.

She works at the Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland. Her community engagement activities have included interactions with patient and family support groups, school groups and health professionals — as well as generating broader media exposure for her research.

Dr Caitlin Curtis


Dr Caitlin Curtis @DrCaitlinCurtis

Caitlin is interested in the ethical, legal and social implications of the use of genetic technology in healthcare, and even at home with DNA tests. She also researches how genetics is used in forensics and conservation biology.

She is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Futures at The University of Queensland. She has many articles published including 8 articles in The Conversation which were republished in 81 media outlets. In 2019, she spoke at the World Science Festival Brisbane to a large audience and she collaborated on a 3-minute animated film about genomic data, screened at the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers in 2018.

Dr Katia Bazaka

Dr Katia Bazaka

Katia is investigating plasma and its ‘reactive edge’ and how this can be applied to deliver personalised treatments for patients as well as how it has can assist in biofuel production.

She is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Science and Engineering Faculty and a researcher with the Institute for Future Environments and the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT. Her plasma research has attracted significant media interest and she has delivered science talks at schools and public lecturers throughout Queensland.

A/Prof Jyotsna Batra


A/Prof Jyotsna Batra @jyotsnabatra

Jyotsna is researching genetic variations associated with prostate cancer, having identified several genes that may contribute to a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Her research has the potential to improve testing and potentially offer new therapeutic treatments in the future.

She is a Principal Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Sciences and Faculty of Health at QUT. She is passionate about engaging the community and students in science and technology and recently attended the 50th moon landing anniversary event in Charleville as a Flying Scientist to discuss the topic: DNA turning alien in space.

Dr Ben Allen


Dr Ben Allen @benallendingo

Ben’s research focuses on understanding the nature and needs of problematic wildlife such as dingoes and lions, searching for ways to manage their impacts on the agricultural environment, while at the same time ensuring the sustainability of wildlife.

He is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland and frequently gives lectures at agricultural field days and public talks at science events and develops materials for wildlife management materials.

A/Prof Stephanie Topp

A/Prof Stephanie Topp

Stephanie’s work aims to improve the performance and accessibility of health services in remote and low-resources areas, through a focus on strengthening health workforce governance. She has undertaken research from Cape York to Africa, including studying the challenges faced by remote-area Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers.

She is an Associate Professor at James Cook University. She engages with health care providers, produces a fortnightly newsletter for an international health systems community-of-practice and uses all forms of social, print and radio media to communicate important health messages.