Chemical engineer Julia Walker awarded prestigious veski fellowship

Postdoctoral researcher in Monash University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr Julia Walker, has today been awarded a 2020 Victoria Fellowship in the Life Sciences category at the annual veski fellows announcement.

Dr Walker was one of 12 Victorians honoured with Fellowships this year. She joins an elite group of 165 scientists and researchers who have received this award since 1998.

The Victoria Fellowships are among the most prestigious of prizes in the Victorian science and innovation community.

The $18,000 grant as part of the Fellowship will support Dr Walker to undertake further research and study overseas, once the international borders reopen, and bring this cutting-edge knowledge back to Victoria.

Dr Walker’s research interests centre in the field of diagnostics and in vivo biosensors involving medical imaging, chemistry, biochemistry and immunology.

Earlier this year, Dr Walker was part of an Australian research team that created a world-first ultrasound biosensor to monitor pH levels and other responses to therapy in stroke and cancer patients. This study, published in ACS Sensors, formed part of Dr Walker’s PhD thesis.

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria, Dr Walker contributed to another world-first project through the development of an agglutination assay that could detect positive COVID-19 cases using blood samples in about 20 minutes.

“On behalf of all the 2020 Victorian Fellows in the Life Sciences category I would like to thank the Victorian Government and veski for these important awards,” Dr Walker said.

“Being awarded the Victoria Fellowship will allow me to grow my research by visiting Professor Heather Clark in Northeastern University in Boston, and strengthen the international in vivo biosensing network started in 2019, through the exchange of junior minds between the current experts in the field.

“At the same time, I will be working on the development of an in vivo cellular photoacoustic sensor for IL-6 (Interleuken 6). This work will inform the use of therapeutic drugs and possibly reveal new classes of therapeutic proteins for the fight against disease progression.”

For more information about the Veski Awards, please visit https://www.veski.org.au/

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