Recognising outstanding achievements and reflecting on 2018

End of year celebration group photo
End of year celebration group photo

In a packed lecture theatre last Friday, the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) celebrated the end of another successful year at the Monash BDI Awards for Outstanding Achievement.

The event began with a wrap up of the year’s milestones, triumphs, progress and priorities, presented by Professor John Carroll, Director of the Monash BDI.

Professor Carroll highlighted selected fellowships, distinguished achievements, selected awards, grants and funding, publications, educational excellence and more. The institute’s commercial successes, major collaborations and engagement with the wider public were also highlighted.

“2018 has been another massive year for the Monash BDI. We’ve built important connections both nationally and internationally, conducted critical research, published hundreds of papers and continued to grow our reputation as a world-leading biomedical research institute,” Professor Carroll said.

The end of year celebration immediately followed a two-day Lab Head Retreat, during which the leaders of the Monash BDI reviewed the first two years of the institute’s existence and discussed future horizons for research, enterprise and philanthropy.

The Monash BDI Awards for Outstanding Achievement recognise the achievements of members of the institute who have gone above and beyond this year. Twelve awards, spanning the five strategic priorities of the Monash BDI, were awarded.

The awards committee received more than 40 nominations across all categories, including both self and peer-nominated submissions. Each award category was judged by a selection committee of three individuals.

Professor Dena Lyras, Deputy Director of the Monash BDI, presented the awards.

“All of the nominations were of an extremely high quality. It was very difficult for the selection committees to select a single winner,” Professor Lyras said.

“I would like to congratulate all nominees, regardless of whether they receive an award today,” she said.

Dr Yue Qu, who received the ‘Outstanding International Collaboration Award’, said the award was a pleasant surprise.

“I am very grateful of the support I have received from the beginning at the Monash BDI. People like John and Dena have encouraged and supported me to pursue something that I believe is worthwhile,” Dr Qu said.

The Monash BDI Organoid Program Team received the ‘Science Communication and Community Engagement Award’.

“As a team, we were humbled to receive this award for our contributions.  It has encouraged us to continue sharing the work we do with others in the community,” Dr Genevieve Kerr said.

Congratulations to the winners of the Monash BDI Awards for Outstanding Achievement:

Outstanding International Collaboration Award
Dr Yue Qu: For his outstanding contribution to the establishment of the Monash BDI-Wenzhou Medical University Alliance in Clinical and Experimental Biomedicine.

Industry Engagement and Commercialisation Award
Professor James Whisstock and Dr Andrew Ellisdon: For their outstanding achievements in research commercialisation, including a new agreement, a new spin-out and two new patents in 2018.

Clinical Engagement and Research Translation Award
Professor Roger Evans: For his outstanding achievement in translating his research into the clinic. Providing better immediate biomarkers for acute kidney injury in heart surgery.

Innovation in Learning and Teaching Award
Animating Science Innovation Team (MCB2011), Associate Professor Helen Abud, Associate Professor Priscilla Johanesen, Danielle Rhodes: For their innovative Animating Science Assessment Task for undergraduate students in the unit Molecular Biology and the Cell (MCB2011).

Innovation in Learning and Teaching Award
Dr Michelle Lazarus: For leading the development of the innovative interdisciplinary AskAnatomist podcasts for pre-class learning.

Outstanding Contribution to Support of Research or Education Award
Monash BDI Communications Team, Ruth Schneider, Grace Williams, Nyasha Jokomo: For providing a vital link between Monash BDI researchers and the wider public, and raising the profile of our scientific discoveries.

Science Communication and Community Engagement Award
Monash BDI Organoid Program Team, Dr Genevieve Kerr, Dr Thierry Jarde, Dr Rebekah Engel, Associate Professor Helen Abud: For their exceptional public engagement activities, informing the broad community about the innovative BDI Organoid Program, bowel cancer and stem cells research.

Award for Fostering a Supportive Environment
Monash BDI ECR Committee, Dr Sarah Atkinson, Dr Deanna Deveson Lucas, Dr Garron Dodd, Dr Jennifer Ngo, Dr Thierry Jarde, Dr Simona John von Freyend, Dr Mimi Nguyen, Dr Thanh Nguyen, Dr Anita Pinar, Dr Aneta Stefanidis, Dr Matt Sykes, Dr Kelly Walton, Dr Amy Winship, Dr Pirooz Zareie: For the outstanding range of initiatives rolled-out to support Monash BDI Early Career Researchers in achieving their career goals.

Monash BDI Thesis Excellence Award
Dr Jaber Firas (Polo lab): For his PhD thesis titled: ‘Towards an understanding of induced cellular plasticity’.

Director’s Highly Commended Publication Award
Dr Timothy Tucey, Dr Jiyoti Verma, Dr Thomas Naderer, Associate Professor Ana Traven: For their publication titled ‘Glucose homeostasis is important for immune cell viability during Candida challenge and host survival of systemic fungal infection published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Director’s Highly Commended Publication Award
Dr Pouya Faridi, Dr Nathan Croft, Professor Anthony Purcell: For their publication titled ‘A subset of HLA-I peptides are not genomically templated: Evidence for cis- and trans-spliced peptide ligands published in the journal Science Immunology.

Discovery Award for Best Publication
Dr Kate McArthur, Professor Ben Kile: For their publication titled ‘BAK/BAX macropores facilitate mitochondrial herniation and mtDNA efflux during apoptosis published in the journal Science.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend the presentation, you can download the slides (Monash login required).