ACT Emerging Scientist of Year Award winner announced

Dr Benjamin Schwessinger has been awarded the 2022 ACT Emerging Scientist of the Year Award for his ongoing commitment to supporting the environment and the ACT’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Schwessinger is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University, specialising in the intersect of pathogen genomics and biosecurity. Dr Schwessinger’s work investigates fungi that infect plants and cause disease, and the effect they have on Australia’s agriculture and environment.

Dr Schwessinger has also played an important role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 he reached out to ACT Health, offering his support by applying similar research tools to support ACT Health’s surveillance of COVID-19. Dr Schwessinger and his team were responsible for the genomic testing of COVID-19 samples which helped track the transmission of the virus.

Since the start August 2021, Dr Schwessinger and his team have been sequencing ACT COVID-19 samples in support of the ACT’s public health response.

Dr Schwessinger’s achievements in his field and his role in supporting ACT Health have made him an outstanding recipient for the 2022 ACT Emerging Scientist of the Year.

Canberra has been the centre of many scientific achievements and it is important that we continue to acknowledge the achievements of those scientists that work to benefit our community.

The ACT is home to many of the nation’s leading tertiary education and research institutions. Research and innovation play an important role in shaping how we move into the future, and the ACT Government is committed to recognising our up-and-coming scientists.

I thank Dr Schwessinger for his important work and congratulate him on this well-deserved achievement.

Quotes attributable to Dr Benjamin Schwessinger, 2022 ACT Emerging Scientist of the Year:

“I am exhilarated and honoured to receive this award. I’ve found both my family and scientific home in Canberra. It is nice to see our work on biosecurity recognised.”

“We aim to contribute to our community’s wellbeing by combating emerging threats; be it SARS-COV2 threatening our health or the myrtle rust fungus that endangers our forest ecosystems.”

“I don’t perform my work in isolation, and I thank all my team members, mentors, colleagues, ANU staff and everyone at ACT Health I have worked with.”

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