The Australian Academy of Science has today recognised 22 of Australia’s most distinguished scientists, naming the 2021 Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science.
Among this group, two University of Sydney academics with expertise spanning biomedical engineering and medical science have been acknowledged for their contributions.
University of Sydney biomedical engineer, Professor Hala Zreiqat AM and her team have developed world-first techniques for 3D-printing strong, biocompatible ceramic materials that can bond to and help repair bones.
As Director of the Australian Research Centre for Innovative BioEngineering, she is leading the development of new orthopaedic implants, including the world’s first synthetic material for healing large areas of bone while supporting weight.
“I am honoured to be recognised among an esteemed cohort of Australians who are making extraordinary contributions to scientific research”, said Professor Zreiqat.
“I want to thank my extraordinary team members, past and present, to whom I dedicate this honour. Working together, we have invented new bioceramics implants with outstanding strength and biological properties and have developed innovative technologies for 3D-printing these ceramics enabling personalised approaches to the repair and regeneration of large bone defects under load.”
Professor Zreiqat migrated to Australia in 1991 to pursue her dream of medical research. Having completed her undergraduate studies at Jordan University and her PhD at the University of New South Wales, she joined the University of Sydney in 2006.
Professor Zreiqat, who is part of the School of Biomedical Engineering, has held visiting and honorary positions at universities in the United States, China and Lebanon.
With her appointment to the Australian Academy of Science, she is now a Fellow of all three distinguished learning academies in Australia, together with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Neuroscientist in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Professor Glenda Halliday, who also leads the dementia, ageing and neurodegeneration research domain in the Brain and Mind Centre, is known for her role in establishing the Sydney Brain Bank.
Professor Halliday is acclaimed internationally for her research into neurodegeneration, making major impacts on understanding disease progression, and her promotion of neuroscience, mentorship and contributions to research evaluation.
She revealed the anatomical, biochemical, molecular and genetic characteristics of several neurodegenerative diseases, particularly within frontotemporal dementia. She leads a $17 million program that researchers non-Alzheimer’s dementias and Motor Neuron Disease, encompassing a workforce of 364 researchers. Last year the program was part of an international collaboration that won a $12.5 million grant to gain insights into the genetics of Parkinson’s Disease.
“There are so many esteemed Australian researchers in the Academy of Science, it really is an honour to be among them.
“This recognition also honours the work of my colleagues: we currently have a workforce of 365 researchers investigating non-Alzheimer’s dementias and to know that these discoveries are recognised as being of significant impact by the Academy is a testament to their work,” said Professor Halliday.
Australian Academy of Science President, Professor John Shine, congratulated the new Fellows for their achievements on the international stage.
“These researchers have not only been at the forefront of Australia's scientific community, but have also been leaders in global science,” said Professor Shine.
“The 2021 Fellows were elected by their Academy peers after a rigorous evaluation. I warmly congratulate and welcome each Fellow on their election and for their extraordinary contribution to science and society.”
Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science are among the nation’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for groundbreaking research and contributions that have had clear impact. This year’s cohort is made up of 41 percent women and 59 percent men. Following the 2021 election, the Fellowship now stands at 576 Fellows.
The 2021 Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy on 3 November.