National honours shine a spotlight on UQ scientists

A quartet of top scientists is among members of the The University of Queensland community to be recognised in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Professor Tamara Davis, Emeritus Professor Perry Bartlett FAA, Professor Ranjeny Thomas FAHMS and Professor Kaye Basford FTSE received national honours in recognition of their lifetimes of work.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj AC congratulated all UQ awardees, thanking them for their invaluable contributions to the nation and across the world.

“In these challenging times of global disruption, the Queen’s Birthday Honours serves as an important reminder of the positive actions and significant contributions of those in our UQ community including students, staff and supporters,” Professor Høj said.

“Time and time again we see education and research at the forefront, helping to build the foundations that enable people to create lasting and impactful change.

“It is a proud day for UQ with such esteemed members of our community recognised for their contributions to the world and the lives of people living in it.”

Emeritus Professor Perry Bartlett received an Officer of the Order of Australia in the General Division in recognition of his distinguished service to neuroscience research, and to people living with dementia, motor neurone disease, and spinal cord injury.

Emeritus Professor Bartlett is an eminent scientist whose discoveries have helped transform modern neuroscience, particularly his pioneering work discovering stem cells in the adult brain, which proved that the brain can create new cells throughout life, and is thus able to regenerate.

He was the inaugural director of the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) which was established at UQ in 2003.

Under Emeritus Professor Bartlett’s leadership, QBI flourished into one of the world’s foremost neuroscience institutes, housing an Australian-first centre for dementia research and leading the development of new therapeutics for brain diseases.

Professor Kaye Basford also received an Officer of the Order of Australia in the General Division for significant service to tertiary education, to the biomedical sciences, and to scientific academies.

Professor Basford is a respected statistician and biometrician who applies statistical methods to plant genetics.

She has made significant contributions to UQ and to the broader community as a former President of UQ’s Academic Board, a former President of the International Biometric Society and as the current Head of UQ’s School of Biomedical Sciences.

School of Mathematics and Physics Professor Tamara Davis was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division for significant service to astrophysical science, education, and to young astronomers.

Professor Davis’s work as an astrophysicist focusses on elusive dark energy (antigravity) and dark matter (gravity) which are considered to be among the most profound puzzles facing fundamental physics.

Through her research, Professor Davis is exploring the reasoning behind how the universe expands, which has challenged scientists since the Big Bang.

Professor Ranjeny Thomas was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division in recognition of her significant service to medical education and research, and to rheumatology.

Professor Thomas is renowned for her research into autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 diabetes.

Her research explores the basic mechanisms of immunity and cell function in autoimmune disease.

She has also contributed major insights into autoimmune diabetes, leading to the development of disease biomarkers and innovative immunotherapies.

A full list of UQ recipients to come.

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