2014 Winners

South Australian Scientist of the Year


Professor Anthony Thomas - Australian Laureate Fellow and Elder Professor of Physics, The University of Adelaide.


Professor Thomas aims to unravel the rich and complex structure of subatomic matter, using experiment, theory, advanced computations and simulation that impact on fundamental questions about our universe, financial markets, atmospheric and climate studies. Using his extensive international collaborative networks, Professor Thomas has created a globally visible program that is at the forefront of subatomic physics.

PhD Research Excellence

Health and Medical Sciences

Dr Kathleen Pishas - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Adelaide.


Dr Pishas’ research aims to discover therapeutic approaches for the targeted treatment of sarcomas – a rare cancer of the solid bone and soft tissue, which disproportionately affects the young. Her work will use novel methods to directly assess the biological response of fresh tumour material to anti-cancer agents. Potentially, the results may identify biomarkers that predict patient response to novel therapeutic agents.

Life and Environmental Sciences


Dr Sarah Catalano - Research Scientist, The University of Adelaide


Dr Catalano recently completed her PhD on a poorly understood and little-known group of marine parasites called dicyemid mesozoans, which are found in high numbers on the kidney surface of cephalopods, including squid, octopus and cuttlefish species. Her research has discovered and described 10 new parasite species, the very first from Australian waters. Her approach of using parasites as tags for these creatures may guide future conservation efforts to maintain species diversity in our waters.

Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering


Dr Daniel Tune - Postdoctoral Research Associate, Flinders University


Dr Daniel Tune’s research investigated single walled carbon nanotube photovoltaics with the aim of developing a new generation of environmentally friendly solar cells. Carbon nanotubes have the potential to be used in window solar cells to absorb harmful UV radiation and turn it into electricity. Dr Tune’s research has recognised that, unlike other alternatives to the silicon used in today’s rooftop solar arrays, carbon is non-toxic and not limited in supply.

Early Career STEM Professional


Life and Environmental Sciences


Dr Josh Hixson - Research Scientist, The Australian Wine Research Institute


Dr Hixson’s research focuses on alternative uses for the winemaking by-product known as grape marc. Grape marc is the solid residue remaining from wine making and comprises of grape skins, stalks and seeds, which contain a class of compounds known as tannins. His research will investigate how those tannins change digestion in livestock and how much methane is produced across the agricultural sector.

Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering

Dr Luigi Barone - Director of Simulation and Optimisation, Schneider Electric


Dr Barone’s research aims to optimise the efficiency of bulk-handling supply chains, particularly in the mining, agriculture and wine industries. Given the large product volume and high commodity prices in these industries, the optimisation of supply chains can deliver significant economic value.

Early Career STEM Educator of the Year


School Teaching


Dr Sam Moyle - Science Teacher, Brighton Secondary School


Dr Moyle creates unique and dynamic approaches to science learning. As a firm advocate of visual learning, Dr Moyle incorporates hands-on construction-based tasks to engage and inspire students to connect the visual to the theory. As a passionate advocate for STEM, Dr Moyle is now undertaking a degree to qualify as a Mechanical Engineer.

Tertiary Teaching


Ms Karen Burke da Silva - Lecturer, Flinders University


Ms Burke da Silva has developed an integrated teaching environment that fosters interaction between teaching and research across multiple STEM areas. Using innovative techniques to stimulate, motivate and improve science literacy of all students, Ms Burke da Silva has reduced student withdrawal rates and produced highly engaged and enthusiastic students. 

Early Career Researcher - Tall Poppy of the Year


Dr Cristian Birzer - University of Adelaide


Dr Birzer’s research involves taking the complex science of combustion and fluid mechanics, plus the creativity of engineering, to develop affordable solutions to reduce harmful emissions from solid fuels, such as dung and wood. Dr Birzer’s group will also examine affordable solutions to treat pathogens in water. 

2014 People's Choice Award


Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange - University of South Australia


Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange’s research examines how drugs are processed by the body and whether factors such as weight or age contribute to differences in the treatment response between patients. Her work will focus on optimising the treatment of malaria and bacterial infections to maximise the therapeutic effect whilst minimising side effects and drug resistance.