UQ leads the way: five scientists lauded among 21 of the nation’s best

1 Jun 2015

The University of Queensland confirmed its place as a leading institution for science and innovation, with five UQ scientists being named Australian Academy of Science Fellows.

Professor Christine BeveridgeProfessor Wendy Hoy,Professor Geoff McLachlanProfessor Linda Richards and Professor Mike Waters were among 21 new fellows announced nationally on 25 May and join 29 other UQ academics who have been admitted to the Australian Academy of Science as Fellows since its inception in 1988.

The prestigious fellowships are given to a select group of scientists each year, recognising leading and innovative research.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said UQ had more 2015 Fellows than any other institution and more new women Fellows than in any other year.

“UQ’s latest addition of Fellows to the learned academies reflects our broad range of skills and research talent in the science fields,” Professor Høj said.

“I’m particularly pleased to see a diverse selection of outstanding researchers recognised this year, and delighted to see three women among our new Fellows. The Academy deserves credit for this pleasing and necessary development.”

“Our new Fellows  are tackling a broad range of challenging issues, from understanding the mysteries of the human brain, to better crop development, to treating health issues in remote Indigenous communities.

“They are thought leaders in the scientific community and their work delivers results that benefit society.”

The Australian Academy of Science comprises Australia’s leading research scientists including several Nobel Prize winners. Fellows are elected by academy members.

Below is a summary of UQ’s new Fellows:

Professor Christine Beveridge (School of Biological Sciences and the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation) is a world leader on the hormonal control of plant development and shoot architecture which underpins the yield, productivity or ornamental value of crops, trees and shrubs. Her discovery of strigolactone as a novel plant hormone involved in shoot branching could assist in crop production and the propagation of endangered plant species.

Professor Wendy Hoy AO (School of Medicine) is recognised internationally for her multidisciplinary research on kidney and related chronic disease in mainstream and high-risk populations. Her work has transformed Aboriginal health services in Australia, saved lives, reduced dialysis needs and supported development of intervention programs globally.

Professor Geoff McLachlan (School of Mathematics and Physics) is a pioneer in the field of mixture models, which play a central role in statistical science. His work can be applied to many fields, including medical statistics, allowing for better calculation of error rate and analysing gene expression data. He is one of the most cited researchers in the world.

Professor Linda Richards (Queensland Brain Institute) is a leading developmental neurobiologist whose discoveries have defined the fundamental mechanisms regulating how the brain correctly wires the neuronal connections between its hemispheres. Her work on development of the cerebral midline in animal models and the developing human brain has led to a new understanding of the causes of some of the most common defects in human brain wiring.

Professor Mike Waters (Institute of Molecular Bioscience) has an international reputation in growth hormone action. He was the first to purify and characterise the growth hormone receptor and, together with biotechnology company Genentech, to clone it. Recently he discovered the molecular movements caused by hormone binding to the receptor which initiate signalling to DNA. His discoveries are contributing to the development of new cancer therapies.

More than 160 UQ academics and professors emeriti are fellows of Australia’s learned academies, which include the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Australian Academy of the HumanitiesAustralian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the recently-created Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. A list of all UQ fellows is available here.


Media: Senior Communications Officer Katie Rowney, 3365 3439, Katie.Rowney@uq.edu.au.