Unsung Hero of South Australian Science

Dr Michala Short - Winner

Dr Michala Short is a Senior Lecturer in Radiation Therapy and a researcher at the UniSA Cancer Research Institute.

In a radiation therapy career spanning 20 years, Dr Michala Short has spent the past 15 as a lecturer and researcher. Her career mission is to enhance the lives of cancer patients receiving radiation therapy, an essential cancer treatment which uniquely combines patient care and communication with comprehensive knowledge of biology, pathology, cross-sectional anatomy and an in-depth knowledge of radiation physics.

She is one of just three South Australian radiation therapists with a PhD, and her contribution to scientific research in South Australia has not only helped cancer patients but has trained and inspired a new generation of radiation therapy researchers.

A highlight of Michala's career was being invited in 2018 to serve on the National Health and Medical Research Council's Proton Beam Working Committee, tasked with advising the Australian Government on the introduction of proton beam therapy in Australia.

Michala's research has expanded into proton therapy and evaluation of children's outcomes after treatment. The soon-to-be-established Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research will be the first facility to offer proton therapy in Australia.

Michala has been instrumental in raising the profile of research within the field of Medical Radiation Science in South Australia as well as nationally, and has paved the way for others, especially young women, to pursue scientific research in this discipline.

Michala is a quiet achiever with exceptional ability in medical radiation sciences.

 

Mr Terry Reardon - Winner

Widely known as South Australia's very own "Batman", Terry Reardon has contributed more to the public understanding of bats and their conservation in this state than anyone else.

Throughout his nearly 30-year career as a technical officer at the South Australian Museum, Terry has successfully combined his passion for research and science communication. He has worked tirelessly with SA communities to raise awareness about bat ecology and conservation.

Terry encouraged public participation in science long before the term "citizen science" became popular, going above and beyond what is required within his professional role. His interest in bats came from his passion for cave exploring and cave diving, which led to him becoming one of the first cave bat researchers in Australia.

Throughout his career, Terry Reardon has been a role model and adviser for undergraduate and graduate students from South Australian, national and international universities. He is an inspirational mentor, with some of his students following in his footsteps to build exceptional careers as prolific science communicators.

Through his long association with the Naracoorte Caves, Terry has contributed to training cave tour guides through workshops, training notes and opportunities for hands-on participation in his research activities.

With his diverse research background, Terry has a strong academic grounding in contemporary wildlife management issues, bat biology and diversity, and, with his considerable flair and a compelling style, the basis for a parallel career in science communication.

He has a wonderfully contagious passion and enthusiasm for bats and is a gifted communicator. He has given hundreds of talks to community groups over the last 30 years, changing the attitudes of many towards this poorly understood group of our native fauna. Having a local champion for bats has substantially improved understanding and led to better conservation outcomes.

Unsung Hero of South Australian Science Communication