Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology

UTAS student wins state Student Excellence Award

Winner's research focuses on microalgae

Kim Lee Chang UTAS Plant Science student Kim Lee Chang has been announced as the state winner for the AusBiotech/GSK Student Excellence Awards. Three finalists competed for the state title and Kim was selected as the winner to represent Tasmania by competing at the AusBiotech national conference to win a $7,000 travel grant.

Kim's UTAS research has focused on microalgae.

"We are investigating the use of Australian microalgae for the production of biofuel and omega-3 oils. I have identified new heterotrophic microorganisms that can grow on recycled carbon source to provide Australia's transportation fleet with a secure, environmentally sustainable fuel feedstock," he said.

"The next steps in our research include further optimizing growth and also scaling up into commercially viable culture vessels."

AusBiotech and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) hold the annual competition as a key initiative to encourage more students to pursue research and consider a career in bio-sciences. The prize seeks to reward those young researchers striving to develop innovative solutions to health issues in the community and recognise their high achievement, unique work and innovations.

"We created these awards to raise awareness of bio-sciences and encourage more students to consider it as an area of study. The goal is to support young, promising scientists and their research," says Dr Anna Lavelle, CEO of AusBiotech.

"The Australian scientific community have a first class record of discovering successful therapies and innovations. Yet despite this strong track record, fewer Australian young people are entering science. It is important to reward those who do make the decision to focus their careers on bio-sciences."

GSK Medical Director, Dr Andrew Yeates describes the Student Excellence Awards as an indication of what we can expect from the next generation of biomedical and scientific researchers.

"GSK has been proud to partner with AusBiotech on these awards for a number of years. Each year we see new and innovative approaches to scientific research come through our student cohorts. If the calibre of past entrants and winners is anything to go by, our future is looking very bright."

The six state winners from across Australia will go to the AusBiotech 2012 conference in Melbourne from 30 October - 2 November 2012, where they will present their research and compete for the national title. Winners of the state awards receive travel, accommodation and registration to the conference. The national winner of the AusBiotech/GSK Student Excellence Award will receive a $7,000 travel grant to be used to present their research at an international conference. In addition, the national winner's principal supervisor will receive a $2,000 research grant.

AusBiotech congratulated Esme Candish from UTAS for being selected as a Tasmanian finalist.

For more information on the awards visit http://www.ausbiotechnc.org/

AusBiotech 2012 is the annual conference of AusBiotech and the premier biotechnology and life sciences conference for Australia and the Asia-Pacific, attracting over 1,400 delegates from across the world each year and is renowned for its agenda-setting programs.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a global research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company with a proud heritage of supporting Australian research, both through the Student Excellence Awards and the GSK Awards for Research Excellence. They provide about 1,600 skilled jobs across the country, working with researchers and doctors to discover new ways of treating and preventing disease. In 2011 they invested $58 million in local research and development, and supplied $477 million to Australia's pharmaceutical and medicinal exports.

Published on: 05 Nov 2012