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Curtin researchers recognised at WA Young Tall Poppy Science Awards

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Four Curtin University researchers have been recognised at last night’s 2020 Western Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Awards, acknowledging their exceptional research and passionate commitment to communicating science.

Restorative ecologist Dr Adam Cross, computational chemist Dr Raffaella Demichelis, liver disease researcher Associate Professor Nina Tirnitz-Parker and coral biodiversity expert Dr Zoe Richards were among seven of Western Australia’s outstanding researchers awarded with WA Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery congratulated the four Curtin Tall Poppies on being honoured by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.

“It’s wonderful to see four of Curtin’s young researchers recognised for their achievements and contributions to science, across such a diverse and interesting range of academic disciplines,” Professor Cordery said.

Dr Adam Cross is a restorative ecologist, working to improve restorative and rehabilitation outcomes for landscapes after mining activity. An internationally renowned expert on carnivorous plants, he was named the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year at the 2019 Western Australia Premier’s Science Awards. Dr Cross is Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre for Mine Site Restoration, within the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University.

Dr Raffaella Demichelis is a computational chemist, investigating how minerals form and interact with their environment in systems as diverse as coral reefs, the deep sea and the human body. Using national resources at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and the National Computational Infrastructure, she is able to predict properties and chemical reactivity of minerals, with her research providing new and more comprehensive theories on how minerals form in biological systems, as well as providing more understanding as to how atoms arrange into certain mineral structures. Dr Demichelis is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University.

Associate Professor Nina Tirnitz-Parker is an Associate Professor with the School of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences and Program Research Leader in the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI). As the Program Head of the Liver Disease and Regeneration Group at CHIRI, Dr Tirnitz-Parker decodes the language liver cells use when they respond to chronic injury to either regenerate the liver or cause cancer.

Dr Zoe Richards is a coral biodiversity expert specialising in coral taxonomy and marine conservation. She leads a coral conservation and research group with the mission of optimising the way coral biodiversity is monitored and protected. To achieve that goal, Dr Richards conducts innovative research in the areas of ecology, biomonitoring, eDNA, and phylogenomics, with the Trace and Environmental DNA Laboratory in the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University.

The Tall Poppy Campaign recognises and celebrates Australian intellectual and scientific excellence, aiming to make a significant step towards building a more publicly engaged scientific leadership in Australia.

For further information on the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards, please visit:

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