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SA Scientist of the Year

Congratulations to the 2023 South Australian Scientist of the Year finalists.

Professor Jamie Craig

Flinders University

The most common cause of irreversible blindness, glaucoma is influenced by genetics, so having a close family member with glaucoma increases risk. Unfortunately, early-stage, treatable glaucoma cases can go undetected, and once diagnosed, damage and vision loss are often irreversible.

Professor Jamie Craig and his team have partnered with industry to develop a powerful genetic test, known as a polygenic risk score (PRS), which will help individuals at high risk of glaucoma to avoid blindness by accessing early treatment.

Given the strong genetic component of glaucoma, Professor Craig has partnered with peak national support group Glaucoma Australia to raise awareness among close relatives and encourage screening. The test was developed in South Australia and is now available at more than 16 centres across eight countries.​

Professor Kishan Dholakia

The University of Adelaide

Professor Kishan Dholakia uses light in many ways to visualise and understand the world around us. Light can be very precise in terms of measurement, allowing incredible accuracy in finding out the contents of biomedical samples (cells, tissue) to evaluate the early onset of disease. This has major implications for reducing the cost of healthcare and assisting in rapid clinical diagnosis. It can also be used to look at food and drinks through their own containers to confirm if there are any contaminants present and verify the safety of what we consume.

This technology is being utilised by the wine industry, and to explore other products that will help economic growth and security for South Australia. 

Professor Helen Marshall

Women's and Children's Health Network and the University of Adelaide

Professor Helen Marshall is a nationally and internationally recognised leader in vaccine research, particularly her work in preventing deaths and disability from life threatening infections such as meningococcal disease.  Her vision is to give children and young people, particularly those living in disadvantaged circumstances, the best protection against life threatening infections by improving access and equity to vaccines.

Internationally she is known for leading game changing studies to determine the most effective, safe and efficient way to deliver vaccines to those who need them most. As Consultant and Professor in Vaccinology at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the University of Adelaide, she also contributed to the South Australian COVID vaccine strategy and internationally for pregnant women.

Professor Marshall was awarded 2022 SA Australian of the Year, Member of the Order of Australia, and an international lifetime achievement award for leadership in meningococcal disease prevention.

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