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UniSA researchers win Science Excellence Awards

Stephanie Reuter Lange with VC Peter Hoj and Health Sciences PVC Allan EvansThree University of South Australia researchers tackling important issues for modern society – Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange, Dr Christopher Raymond and Dr Drew Evans – have been recognised among the state’s leading scientists at this year’s 2012 Science Excellence Awards.

Dr Reuter Lange won the PhD Research Excellence Award for Health and Medical Sciences for her work investigating the importance of the amino acid carnitine for kidney dialysis patients and people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Dr Raymond won the PhD Research Excellence Award for Life and Environmental Sciences for his work in natural resource management planning with rural landholders.

Dr Drew Evans won the People’s Choice Award for his advanced materials research and expertise in thin film coatings for commercial applications.

Dr Reuter Lange said she was honoured to be recognised for her work, which focuses on the clinical importance of carnitine, an amino acid that transports fatty acids into muscle cells for energy production.

Her research in this area has contributed to the regulation of supplemental carnitine for dialysis patients and has proposed a possible mechanism for the clinical characteristics of chronic fatigue syndrome.

“My research was able to establish, for the first time, a normal reference range of carnitine in healthy adults,” she says.

Christopher Raymond is presented with his awardDr Raymond has been internationally recognised for the development of innovative social science methods and tools to effectively engage rural landholders and local communities in natural resource management planning.

“My PhD research highlighted the importance of considering local community values, attachments to place and conservation behaviours in the assessment of natural resource management priorities across South Australia and internationally,” he said.

His research provided natural resource management bodies in South Australia with a series of policy tools for encouraging rural landholders to conserve native vegetation on their farms based on their attachments to land and levels of self-reported planting of native vegetation.

Drew Evans is presented with his awardDr Evans’ research is focussed on developing advanced materials for use in high-tech real-world devices, bringing together the fields of materials science and nanotechnology to engineer coatings on different plastic materials. He has engineered advanced coatings on the nanoscale that require less energy to use, with improved safety for the user.

He was part of the research team which developed the world’s first plastic automotive mirror. This research has turned a conventional piece of plastic into a high value-add optical device that can withstand the extremes of outdoor environments.

The awards were among 10 presented at the 2012 Science Excellence Awards SA gala dinner held on August 17.

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Sakkie Pretorius said the university was extremely proud of its three winners, whose research was relevant to issues facing South Australians and society in general.

“Our winners are helping to solve real-world problems for our modern society and we are immensely proud of their work,” Prof Pretorius said.

“These awards highlight the contributions our scientists make to science and research and the ultimate impact on industry and community of their outstanding work.”

More information about the Science Excellence Awards is available here.

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au

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