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University of Queensland honours its outstanding alumni

12 October 2017
Professor Melissa Little upon receiving the UQ 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award

Professor Melissa Little was awarded a 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award from University of Queensland, to recognise her research in renal stem cell biology, including the breakthrough of growing ‘mini kidneys’ in a laboratory.

Professor Little is considered a pioneer in the field of renal stem cell biology and renal regeneration and has spent decades as a forerunner in these fields developing new regenerative treatment options. With kidney disease affecting one in every 10 Australians and with kidney failure rapidly increasing at six per cent per annum, Little recognised an urgent need for new treatment options and devoted her life to this endeavour.

Her work, as part of the first team to successfully grow human kidney organoids in a petri dish, revolutionised the field by providing researchers with a safer and more effective way to study disease and test drugs.  The long-term effects of this breakthrough are the potential to save millions of dollars and copious amounts of time in drug safety testing, allowing industry to deliver better treatments, faster.

The University of Queensland’s 2017 Alumni Awards have recognised a diverse range of leaders who have created change by advancing knowledge, powering economies and advocating for human rights and dignity. Award recipients were nominated by their peers and selected by a committee led by UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj.

Professor Melissa Little is the Program Leader for Stem Cells Australia

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