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Unsung Hero of South Australian Science

Mr Graham Medlin – Winner

Graham Medlin has made an enormous contribution to the field of palaeobiology in Australia as an Honorary Research Associate at the South Australian Museum.

Graham has made long and enduring contributions to the study of vertebrate surface remains (subfossils) from many sites in South Australia, and he is one of nation's leading authorities on using these subfossils to reconstruct past and present mammal diversity.


In 1988, Graham donated his private collection of more than 10,000 subfossils from the Flinders Ranges to the South Australian Museum, and this was the catalyst for the internationally significant Subfossil Collection of which he is Honorary Curator.


He has volunteered two days per week over 25 years, advising students and researchers and supervising a team of volunteers who sort and meticulously record specimens. The focus of his research has been to compare small mammal species' diversity and richness prior to and following the arrival of Europeans and to describe how these have been influenced by climatic variation.

Graham has published widely, with contributions to scientific journals spanning four decades. Over that time, he has also enthusiastically shared his research with the public, and his interactive and engaging displays of owl pellets and bones continue to intrigue visitors of all ages.

Ms Susan Lester    

Susan Lester is the Chief Medical Scientist of the Rheumatology Research Group based at the Basil Hetzel Institute.

She has had a long-standing and impressive scientific career, supporting research in South Australia and beyond over the past 38 years. Her contribution to science (including genetics, autoimmune disease, epidemiology and statistics) and support for clinicians and scientists has spanned all teaching hospitals and universities across the state.


As a mathematician and biocomputational modeller with extreme proficiency in high level mathematical-statistical language, Susan’s contributions have been instrumental to successes within her unit.


She has had a profound impact on the quality of science produced in South Australia, shown exceptional qualities as a teacher, mentor and collaborator, inspiring the next generation of young researchers and physician scientists, and continues to generate world-class scientific research.

Mrs Patricia Vilimas

Patricia Vilimas from Flinders University has made an enormous contribution to medical research – a contribution defined by its excellence, altruism and longevity.


She has been central to a number of medical discoveries at the University,  using new technology to develop new ways of making antibodies to examine the gut nervous system, and continuous innovation to make these experiments work.


Patricia has a formidable reputation for her thoroughness, problem-solving abilities, and capacity to work through a myriad of technical roadblocks, enabling her to produce data that informed global researchers on the form and function of the enteric nervous system. Her research has been vital to the creation of new knowledge in the field of autonomic neuroscience.


Throughout her career she has trained, enthused and supported hundreds of students and researchers to undertake their own work.

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