Plenty of WiT at QUT

18th September 2018

Researchers proved there’s no shortage of WiT at QUT, with two winners and another five finalists recognised at the 2018 Women in Technology (WiT) Awards Gala in Brisbane on Friday.

The WiT Awards celebrate the achievements of women working in life sciences and technology fields.

Biofabrication specialists Professor Mia Woodruff and her protégé Naomi Paxton won the Life Sciences Research Leader and Life Sciences Young Achiever awards respectively.

Professor Woodruff is Acting Director of the Herston Biofabrication Institute which officially opens for business in 2019, and will focus on fabrication of patient-specific replacement tissue and organs as a safe, cost-effective and routine medical practice.

The $60 million Herston Biofabrication Institute is where researchers, clinicians, industry partners and students will be developing 3D scanning, modelling and printing techniques to replicate  human tissue.

Ms Paxton is currently completing her PhD specialising in biofabrication, working at the cutting edge of science to fabricate tissue using advanced 3D printing techniques.

With a background in physics, Ms Paxton completed a Dual International Masters degree in biofabrication between QUT and the University of Würzburg, Germany.

Joining Professor Woodruff and Ms Paxton, were five QUT finalists across three award categories:

  • Dr Laura Bray – Life Sciences Rising Star Award finalist. Dr Laura Bray is developing new three-dimensional technologies that provide a new method for identifying cancer and testing new drugs for treatments.
  • Dr Sue Keay – ICT Outstanding Achievement Award finalist.
  • Associate Professor Chamindie Punyadeera – Life Sciences Research Leader Award finalist.
  • Associate Professor Leila Cuttle – Life Sciences Research Leader Award finalist.
  • Associate Professor Jyotsna Batra – Life Sciences Research Leader Award finalist.

Award winners Professor Woodruff and Ms Paxton, and finalist Dr Bray are all researchers with the QUT School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering (CPME).

Their Head of School, Professor John Bell said the School was very proud of staff nominated for WiT awards.

“They are all very capable and talented women and it's fantastic to see such recognition.

“These awards are very important. It's critical that we recognise the achievements of women in life science and technology because the data on employment in the STEM disciplines shows women leave academic careers after PhDs, and steadily over the course of careers the proportion of women decreases.”

Professor Bell said QUT encouraged and supported women in science and technology-related fields.

“We try to ensure we nominate women (and men) for relevant awards, and we support women in developing leadership skills and in feeling a real part of the School.”

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