Sydney top for new Laureate Fellowships
22 June 2009
The University of Sydney has secured three prestigious Australian Research Council Australian Laureate Fellowships, representing 20 per cent of the total number announced today by the Federal Government, more than any other university.
The 15 Australian Laureate Fellowships which were announced by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, are each worth around $2.7 million. The three University of Sydney Laureate Fellowsare:
Professor Dietmar Muller from the University's School of Geosciences, who will create a Virtual Geological Observatory, exploiting the connection between deep earth and surface processes over the past 600 million years.
The observatory will enable the application of leading edge technologies to see into the Earth in four dimensions.
"This project will allow the unravelling of the driving forces of shifting coastlines and the formation of deep-Earth resources," said Professor Muller. "Open-source simulation and data-mining tolls will be integrated with the observatory to explore associations between hydrocarbon and mineral deposits, and time-dependent plate boundary kinematics and dynamics," he said.
Professor Stephen Simpson, an evolutionary geneticist from the School of Biological Sciences will be investigating how the behaviour and physiology of individual organisms contribute to the populations, communities and ecosystems within which they exist, and how these features in turn respond and adapt to changing environmental conditions.
"Undressing how ecosystems function from the perspective of nutritional interactions between individual organisms will contribute to an environmentally sustainable Australia, with particular benefits to rural communities in arid and semi-arid regions," said Professor Simpson.
"The project will foster creative, innovative science that spans molecular biology to ecosystem dynamics, and will help us to design novel treatments for metabolic disorders and new ways of controlling locusts and other pests that threaten Australian agriculture," he said.
Professor Bernard Balleine from the University's Brain and Mind Research Centre will be investigating memory and the emotional processes engaged during decision making and choice and the influence of neuropathology in this process.
"Changes in the neural system that result in the cognitive and emotional dissociation reflected in disorders such as dementia, major psychiatric conditions and drug addiction, constitute the highest health, economic and social cost to Australia of any disease group, a burden that is only predicted to increase as the population ages," said Professor Balleine.
"Understanding these changes in neural systems and their specific behavioural affects is, therefore, of critical importance and will ultimately provide new targets for treatment and rehabilitation," he said.
Contact: Jake O'Shaughnessy
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