Science Celebration – 2020 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards

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 researchers who demonstrate scientific excellence combined with a unique passion for science communication, which can inspire young people to enter STEM study and careers.

This event was held in August 2020 to announce the Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award winners.

Congratulations to Dr Celine Frere from the University of the Sunshine Coast who has been awarded the 2020 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.

Nine other researchers were acknowledged with a Young Tall Poppy Science Award on the night.

All delivered a one minute pitch on the research and communication activities that led to them being short listed for the award.

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

2020 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year

A/Prof Celine Frere
Associate Professor Celine Frere

Associate Professor Celine Frere
University of Sunshine Coast

She works in animal behaviour and genetics, in particular how animals adapt to environmental change.

She co-established USC’s Detection Dogs for Conservation initiative, which trains and uses sniffer dogs to assist research on endangered and protected species like koalas and quolls. Additionally, her work tracking a dolphin family led to invaluable insight into the effects of tourism on wild populations.


2020 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science award winners

Dr April Reside

Dr April Reside

Dr April Reside
The University of Queensland

She works in ecosystem ecology, using climate models to identify the best future habitats for threatened species. She examines the costs and benefits of different actions to address extinction threats in order to be more effective at saving species.

Additionally, she is a coveted speaker on environmental policy as well as working with community bushcare groups on restoration projects.


Dr Michele Barnes

Dr Michele Barnes

Dr Michele Barnes
James Cook University

She explores how people’s social networks can be used to better understand and help solve environmental problems.

Key achievements are evidence that stronger communication between tuna fishers led to significant decreases in shark bycatch, as well as finding that reef health is positively correlated with increased communication by competing fishers.


Dr Peter Cowman

Dr Peter Cowman

Dr Peter Cowman
James Cook University

His work focusses on the evolutionary origins of coral reef fishes. Using DNA and fossil information he has shown that coral reefs act as a ‘cradle’ where new fish species arise. His work highlights how coral reefs can act as a refuge, important for lineage survival in times of changing climate.

He is a previous recipient of the Gaylord Donnelley Postdoctoral Environmental Fellowship from Yale University.


Dr Fernando Guimaraes

Dr Fernando Guimaraes

Dr Fernando Guimaraes
The University of Queensland

His research seeks to develop more effective cancer therapies by understanding why and how cancer cells escape the killing action of the so-called Natural Killer (NK) cells—a subset of the immune system. He has already uncovered a key cancer-escaping mechanism that could be actioned clinically.

He also organises public cancer research forums, and fundraising for foundations like Cure Cancer Australia. He is also passionately involved in mentoring students and early-career scientists.


Dr Susanna Cramb

Dr Susanna Cramb

Dr Susanna Cramb
QUT

Susanna’s research aims to understand where, when and why diseases like cancer and diabetes have poorer outcomes. Statistical models are used to identify differences which allows policy makers to address these.

Her work on cancer survival rates led to a policy change, addressing the need for increased funding for rural cancer patients. She was also a lead developer of the Australian Cancer Atlas, an online tool that found international imitation.


A/Prof Sumaira Hasnain
Associate Professor Sumaira Hasnain

Associate Professor Sumaira Hasnain
Mater Research Institute

Her work focuses on childhood disease prevention, especially on respiratory viruses, which can lead to pneumonia. Additionally, her research enables her to test for many novel therapeutics for diseases such as diabetes, obesity, arthritis and inflammation.

She was the recipient of the 2019 Mary McConnel Career Boost Program for Women in Paediatric Research from the children’s hospital foundation.


Dr Andreas Kupz

Dr Andreas Kupz

Dr Andreas Kupz
James Cook University

His research tries to replace the current tuberculosis vaccine with one that also works in adults. By working with animal models of tuberculosis and a unique group of Indigenous Australian children that get vaccinated against tuberculosis, he tries to understand the changes that occur in the immune system following vaccination and how these change from children to adult.

In his short career he has received 14 different awards and prizes. He is an avid science communicator with numerous community and media engagements regarding his research.


Dr Laura Bray

Dr Laura Bray

Dr Laura Bray
QUT

Her laboratory creates 3D human mini tissues for realistic cancer research which are used by collaborators throughout the world.  Not only does her work place Queensland at the forefront of cancer research technology, it has the potential to reduce animal testing.

She is an advocate for Women in STEMM and has also managed two high school research placement programs.


Dr Johanna Nalau

Dr Johanna Nalau

Dr Johanna Nalau
Griffith University

Her research into climate change adaptation made her a pioneer in adaptation heuristics. She compares complex theories with actual decisions made in how we can adapt to climate change, and examines the robustness of these decisions.

Her expertise is frequently sought after by United Nations and she is a Lead Author of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Past winners

Find out about past winners by visiting the Tall Poppy Campaign website.