Congratulations to 2016 Eureka Prize winners!

01 September 2016
Winners of prestigious UNSW 2016 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research (Credit: Australian Museum)

Stem Cells Australia researchers were amongst the winners at the 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes for outstanding science presented last night at Sydney Town Hall.

Congratulations to Professor Melissa Little and Dr Minoru Takasato from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. They received the prestigious UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research for their work on recreating human kidney tissue from stem cells - Kidney in a Dish. This research opens the door to disease modelling, drug screening, and ultimately development of replacement organs.

Also receiving recognition was Professor Christine Wells from the University of Melbourne and Professor Ernst Wolvetang from the University of Queensland for their contribution to the international research consortium FANTOM5. This collaboration of 260 specialists from 20 countries, including 22 Australian researchers, is developing a comprehensive map of the genes expressed in each of our cell types. The map is being used to understand genetic diseases and engineer new cells for therapeutic use. Scientists involved in the FANTOM5 consortium are based at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research; The University of Melbourne; University of Queensland; Translational Research Institute; Telethon Kids Institute; and RIKEN Japan. FANTOM5 was awarded the 2016 Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration.

Commenting on the awards Professor Martin Pera, Program Leader of the Stem Cells Australia initiative said, “These prestigious honours bestowed on our SCA colleagues show that Australian scientists remain at the forefront of stem cell research internationally. 

Melissa and Minoru are pioneers in the emerging field of in vitro organogenesis, a fascinating area of research that will revolutionize the way we use stem cells in biomedical research and regenerative therapies. 

Christine and Ernst made a major contribution to FANTOM 5, by documenting the changes in gene expression that occur during cell state transitions. Their findings will aid in our fundamental understanding of the process of stem cell lineage specification and differentiation.”

Click here for a full list of 16 winners of the 2016 Eureka Awards.

Media coverage:

The 2016 Eureka Prizes showcases the best in Australian Science (The Conversation, 31 August)