11 December 2018

University of South Australia scientist Dr Melanie MacGregor has been named a “Superstar of STEM” for her groundbreaking work to help develop a diagnostic device for bladder cancer.

Dr MacGregor is among 60 female scientists recognised nationally today by Science & Technology Australia to celebrate the country’s most inspiring women working in STEM, who are smashing the stereotype of “an old man in a white lab coat”.

The 33-year-old has led a team of scientists, engineers and doctors in developing a commercial, non-invasive microfluidic device to diagnose bladder cancer and potentially save thousands of lives each year.

Dr MacGregor, a Santos-UCL Research Fellow at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, is renowned for her work in materials nano-design, building tiny devices using plasma coatings to capture cancer cells, grow stem cells and to help recover oil and gas for the mining sector.

Congratulating the STEM superstars, Science and Technology Australia (STA) President, Professor Emma Johnston AO, described them as the ideal role models for young women and girls seeking to pursue a career in science.

“These women will no longer be hiding their scientific superpowers. Each one will connect with hundreds of school children, feature in local, national and international media, and represent their work, their discipline and their sector with distinction,” Professor Johnston says.

Dr MacGregor earned her Master of Chemical Engineering in France before moving to Australia in 2008 as an intern. She is now an Australian citizen, has completed her PhD, married, and started a family.

The quality of her research, innovation and science communication has been recognised through several awards, including the 2017 Winnovation awards in the Engineering category, a 2018 Young Tall Poppy Science Award and the 2013 Ian Wark Medal for best PhD thesis.

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro, described Dr MacGregor as “an outstanding young scientist, who is undertaking game-changing research into the future of engineering and inspiring the next generation to pursue science.”

“Since joining UniSA in 2008, Melanie has excelled, first as a student and now a researcher specialising in an exciting new field that combines engineering, chemistry, physics and biology. She is a STEM superstar in every sense of the word.”

Photo of Dr Melanie MacGregor by Juan Van Staden.


Media contact: Candy Gibson office (08) 8302 0961  mobile: 0434 605 142
email: candy.gibson@unisa.edu.au

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