Future Research Leader Award

This Award focuses on excellence in research relative to career opportunities, for early career researchers with up to 10 years of experience post-PhD with research leadership  potential. Prior to 2014, this Award was known as the Early Career Research Award.

2021 Kristian Kempe

Kristian Kempe is currently an ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and MIPS.

Research in the Kempe Group is concerned with the synthesis of biocompatible and biodegradable polymeric materials, the development of hybrid biomimetic materials, and the design of functional polymer-based nanoparticles and conjugates and how these can be applied for the preparation of novel pharmaceutical materials. The Kempe Group is one of the leading groups in the field of poly(2-oxazoline)s (POx), a highly promising polymer class which provides access to new functional stealth and anti-fouling polymers, which they investigate as potential alternatives to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG).

Kristian is a co(author) of 137 publications including 123 peer reviewed articles, 11 peer reviewed review articles, 2 book chapters and 1 editorial. Since starting his independent group in 2016 at MIPS he has published 57 journal articles of which he is a corresponding author of 27 (47%). He frequently publishes in the top, highly recognized journals of his discipline in Polymer Science and Materials Science.

In his young career Kristian has successfully received a number of national and international research funding ($2.5M ($1.5 M as CIA)). He has been the recipient of a high profile NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship and a prestigious ARC Future Fellowship.

2020 Chengxue Helena Qin

Dr Chengxue Helena Qin is a current NHF Future Leader and a translational pharmacologist with a long-term goal of developing better cardiovascular medicines with superior efficacy and minimal side effects. Helena has recently been recruited to MIPS, leading an independent research program within DDB. Her research focuses on developing a group of G protein-coupled receptors towards clinical use in life-threatening cardiovascular diseases with dysregulated inflammatory response.

Helena has published 43 peer-reviewed publications: 15 as first author, 10 as corresponding/senior author. Her papers have been published in top-tier specialist or generalist journals including Nat Commun, J Med Chem, Brit J Pharmacol, Circulation, plus invited reviews in Pharmacol Ther. She is also named inventor for a family of six patents.

Helena has received a total of $3.2M competitive research support (since 2012) including two NHMRC chief investigator (1 as CIA), NHF Vanguard (CIA), Diabetes Australia (CIA), CASS Foundation (CIA) etc. She also received personnel support as a the NHF Future Leader and the Baker Fellowship.

2019 Michelle Halls

Michelle Halls is a current NHMRC RD Wright Fellow. Michelle’s research focus is on GPCR protein-networks in cell signaling and disease.

Michelle’s laboratory leads research into the regulation and compartmentalisation of signalling proteins and has developed state-of-the-art techniques that measure spatiotemporal signals from receptors in different cellular locations using FRET biosensors, TIRF super-resolution microscopy and proximity proteomics.

Michelle has published 55 international peer-reviewed papers and book chapters: 18 as first author and 13 as senior author, both in leading discipline and generalist journals. Together, the papers have >2000 citations, and Michelle has 13 papers with more than 50 citations. Her papers have been published in general science journals, including Cell, Sci Transl Med, Nat Comm, EMBO, PNAS, Sci Signal, and FASEB J.

Michelle has consistently received competitive research funding including an NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship, >$4.5m in NHMRC & ARC funding, >$800K in industry funding, and >$300K in internal Monash funding.

2018 Natalie Trevaskis

Natalie Trevaskis’ research focus is on investigating the intestinal lymphatic system in health and disease. Natalie continues to have a highly successful collaborative research program, most recently leading to the establishment of a US-based company to commercialise technology described in two patents, both of which name Natalie as a co-inventor.

Natalie has published 40 papers in quality journals, many involving a considerable volume of complex biological research. Natalie has also been an author of several significant reviews including two in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, the highest impact factor (IF=54.5) journal in biomedical research. Natalie also made a substantial contribution to a 199-page landmark review in Pharmacological Reviews with >2700 citations, h-index of 18 and Field-Weighted Citation Impact of 2.83.

Natalie has received >$4M in research grant funding since 2011, including as a Chief Investigator (CIA) on an NH&MRC grant ($515K) and a CI on an NZ HRC project grant ($1.2M).

2018 Denise Wootten

Denise Wootten is a current NH&MRC Senior Research Fellow.  Denise’s research focus is on Class B G protein-coupled receptors. Denise played a key role in the establishment of structural biology efforts on active state receptors using single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. Denise has also led the field in the application of molecular structure-function and analytical pharmacology for understanding biased agonism at the clinically important glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor.

Denise has published four papers in Nature in the last 18 months, three as corresponding author.  Denise has also published in Cell, JACS, PNAS and numerous papers in high quality discipline-specific journals. Invited reviews have included Chem Rev; IF. 48, Pharm Rev; IF. 17, Nature Rev Mol Cell Biol; IF. 47; Nature Rev Drug Discov; IF. 57.

Denise has consistently received competitive research grant funding including an NH&MRC Career Development Fellowship and more recently an NH&MRC Senior Research Fellowship. Denise has also been a Chief Investigator (CI) on three NH&MRC project grants (two as CIA) and a Lilly Research Awards Program grant.

2017 Darren Creek (Joint Award)

Darren is well-known as a Gold medal-winning BPharm student, a top class PhD student, and as a postdoctoral research assistant, when he worked in the CDCO team on lead optimisation of anti-malarial compounds. After this extended period of study and training at Monash, Darren began forging his independent career, first with a CJ Martin Fellowship, and more recently with a Career Development Fellowship which is still in progress.

Darren’s progress in all aspects of research has been outstanding which includes number (>65) and quality of publications (cited over 2000 times), development of his independent research program, success in obtaining grant funding (including five NHMRC project grants), collaborations, peer recognition, and supervision of his research group.

Darren has single-handedly established metabolomics, proteomics and lipidomics research at MIPS and is in high demand as a collaborator both inside and outside the institute. His leadership in this area is already recognised internationally, by conference speaking invitations and also leadership within the International Metabolomics Society. Darren has taken responsibility for setting up a laboratory which is now approved for parasitology work. He has managed the cell culture laboratory in CDCO/D4 with efficiency and integrity.
Read more about Darren's current research, publications and grants.

2017 Katie Leach (Joint Award)

Dr Katie Leach is an outstanding early/mid career scientist who has published 24 papers (4 as corresponding author) and 3 book chapters. Her work combines analytical pharmacology and structure function studies to facilitate GPCR drug discovery efforts, with a particular focus on the calcium sensing receptor and other similar Class C GPCRs.

Katie leads an independent research program within DDB, and has consistently obtained competitive funding; more than AU$2 million since 2012, which includes a prestigious ARC Future Fellowship, two NHMRC project grants (CIA and CIC), one ARC discovery grant (CIA) and the Monash “Advancing women’s research success” grant. Her funding has enabled her to build a successful research team with diverse expertise; she co-leads (with Karen Gregory) the Class C GPCR team consisting of 3 postdoctoral scientists and 1 research assistant, with one medicinal chemist and one structural biologist directly working on CaSR projects.

In addition to supervising academic staff, Katie has supervised 11 undergraduate and postgraduate students to completion, with two of her co-supervised honours students obtaining Dux of year, and two masters students graded with distinctions. Her outstanding supervision is evidenced by 12 co-authored publications with trainees. Katie is also actively involved in the DDB theme, and is a current member of the DDB management committee.
Read more about Katie's current research, publications and grants.

2016 Cornelia Landersdorfer

Connie Landersdorfer joined the Faculty in 2011. She completed her PhD at the University of Würzburg, Germany, in 2006. She leads a translational research program on optimisation of drug therapy, with a special focus on antibiotics. This program represents a significant contribution to the Faculty’s portfolio, as it is integrating experimental research and PK/PD modelling, and has impacted patient therapy.

Connie is a NHMRC Career Development Fellow, is CI on 3 NHMRC project grants (2 as CIA) and has been awarded NIH funding for 2 projects.She has published 64 peer-reviewed papers (22 since 2015) in discipline-leading journals (e.g. Clin Infect Dis, Clin Pharmacokinet, J Antimicrob Chemother).
Read more about Connie's current research, publications and grants.

2015 J Robert Lane

Dr Rob Lane was awarded the Future Research Leader Award in 2015 for his research focused on GPCRs and novel approaches to treat CNS disorders such as Parkinson's disease and schizophernia. Rob joined MIPS in 2010 as a Monash Larkins Fellow, having completed his PhD at the University of Glasgow.  Rob has an outstanding record of publication in journals such as Nature Chem Biol; Nature; J Med Chem; and Mol Pharmacol.
Read more about Rob's current research, publications and grants.

2014 Lisa Kaminkas (Joint Award)

When  awarded the Future Research Leader Award in 2014, Dr Lisa Kaminskas was a NHRMC  Career Development Fellow with a research interest focused on the treatment of  lymph-metastatic and lung-resident cancer which are largely resistant to  conventional intrevenous chemotherapy.  Lisa's  research addresses basis and applied aspects of drug delivery.  Her collaborative research in dendrimer-based  drug delivery with Starpharma has resulted in 16 publications, four patent  applications, 4 ARC Linkage Grants and establishment of Starpharma's in-house  oncology program that has now progressed to Phase 1 clinical trials.

2014 Christopher Langmead (Joint Award)

Dr  Chris Langmead is a high-calibre research leader who leads and manages the  Servier programs within Drug Discovery Biology.   When awarded the Future Research Leader Award in 2014, his track-record  was outstanding with a knowledge base in pharmacology and drug discvoery from  previous experiences within pharma (GSK) and biotech (Heptares) in the United  Kingdom.  While much of Chris' research  is commerical-in-confidence, he has maintained a major academic profile and  continued to publish (Br. J. Pharmacol.,  Curr Opinion Cell Biol., Pharmacol. Rev) and leads many national and  international professional activities.
Read more about Chris' current research, publications and grants.

2013 Joseph Nicolazzo

Dr Joseph Nicolazzo is the 2013 recipient of the Early Career Research Award. Joe is a highly collaborative staff member who contributes energetically to his research, education and service responsibilities. He has established an independent, grant-funded research program focusing on the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) founded on pharmacology and transport function. His BBB research ranges from the study of influx for delivery of xenobiotics into the brain, to the efflux associated with removal of amyloid for treatment of Alzheimer's disease. In 2013 he had published over 34 papers and graduated 3 PhD students.
Read more about Joe's current research, publications and grants.

2012 Meri Canals

Dr Meri Canals was recognised as an outstanding early career researcher in 2012 for her research focused on novel modes of regulating GPCRs and the influence of noncanonical signalling pathways and beta-arrestin proteins. Having undertaken research in some of the world's top GPCR laboratories, she has been instrumental in developing new methods to study protein-protein interactions and has extended her research interests to encompass the role of allosteric ligands on receptor trafficking and regulation. In 2010, Meri was awarded the first MIPS-based Monash Fellowship.
Read more about Meri's current research, publications and grants.

2011 Erica Sloan

Highlights from Erica's career when recognised as an outstanding early career researcher in 2011 include her National Breast Cancer Foundation early career fellowship enabling to pursue her research interest in the role of neural components in the tumour microenvironment in regulating breast cancer. She had published major papers in Cancer Research and PNAS and her work has led to in vivo imaging capability within MIPS, and an exciting undergraduate research student initiative.
Read more about Erica's current research, publications and grants.

2010 Stephen Headey

Highlights from Dr Stephen Headey's career when recognised as an outstanding early career researcher in 2010 include his Postdoc position at Massey University developing structural insights into interaction of proteins with endogenous ligands and small molecules. In 2010 he had published 14 papers with front-cover features on J Structural Biology and Molecular Endocrinology.
Read about Stephen's current research, publications and grants.

2009 Bim Graham

Highlights from Bim Graham's career when recognised as an early career researcher in 2009 include his work to establish a grant-funded research program around the development of novel metal complexes and bioconjugates. In 2009, Bim had published 38 papers, including key publications in JACS, Science and Inorganic Chemistry.
Read more about Bims 's current research, publications and grants.

2008 Tony Velkov

Tony received the award in 2008 for his significant contribution to the development of an entirely new line of research within the faculty that examines the role of intracelleular lipid binding proteins and their role in ADME. Tony's solid start to his research career included being awarded a Monash Research Fund postdoctoral fellowship in 2004 and a Peter Doherty NHMRC postdoctoral fellowship in 2006.

2007 Jian Li

Highlights from Jian Li's career when recognised as an outstanding early career researcher in 2007 include his significant international work on the development and innovative use of anti-infective agents. In 2007 he had published 42 research papers, of which 21 focused on colistin research, and had been awarded the NHMRC R. Douglas Wright Research Fellowship.
Read more about Jian's current research, publications and grants.

2006 Ben Boyd

Highlights from Ben Boyd's career when recognised as an outstanding early career researcher in 2006 include the influence his research had to fundamentally change the way the Pharmaceutical Industry views the use of lipid-based formulations. In 2006 Ben had published 2 invited peer-reviewed book chapters, 15 research papers and four patents.
Read more about Ben's current research, publications and grants.