Academy of Science honours Sydney researcher

10 March 2022
Recognising outstanding contributions to Australian science
Professor Steve Simpson from the Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Science has been awarded the prestigious MacFarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture by the Australian Academy of Science, the country's premier scientific association.
Professor Steve Simpson

Professor Steve Simpson has been awarded the prestigious MacFarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture

Steve Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre and Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences has been awarded the Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture by the Australian Academy of Science – for his revolutionary research into locust swarming, which included examining the brains of individual locusts through to continental-scale migration patterns.

His research led to a ground-breaking framework for nutrition research which has since been applied to a wide range of organisms and used to tackle problems from aquaculture and conservation biology to the dietary effects on obesity and ageing.

The Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture recognises scientific research of the highest standing in the biological sciences and includes the opportunity to deliver a prestigious lecture at the Academy of Science.

The Academy citation noted that: “Since 2012, Professor Simpson has applied his biological and biomedical research and knowledge to ease the burden of chronic disease in humans through a unique, cross-disciplinary initiative at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.”

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Mark Scott AO, congratulated Professor Simpson and praised his contribution to health and scientific research.

“Professor Simpson’s wide-ranging and collaborative work has been instrumental in revolutionising our understanding of nutrition and chronic disease and the impact of his work continues to benefit medicine and science globally. I congratulate him on his recognition by the Australian Academy of Science.”

The award is the latest of many recognising Professor Simpson’s contributions to science and the community: He was awarded the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research in 2008, NSW Scientist of the Year in 2009, The Wigglesworth Medal and Award, Royal Entomological Society in 2012, and was named Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2015. 

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Professor Duncan Ivison said: 

“We are proud of Professor Simpson’s well-deserved recognition by the Australian Academy of Science. His globally acclaimed research across nutritional biology and entomology has made a substantial contribution to the understanding of human nutrition and ageing, and inspired others to follow his lead and undertake research to improve human health and wellbeing.”

Professor Simpson is also the author of Eat Like The Animals: What Nature Teaches Us about the Science of Healthy Eating in 2020, and The Nature of Nutrition: A Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity in 2012, both with Dr David Raubenheimer. 

He was the co-writer, narrator and presenter of the four-part documentary Great Southern Land, for ABC TV, which was aired to critical and viewer acclaim in September 2012.

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