Celebrating our 2020 AAS recipients

Three outstanding Faculty of Science academics have been recognized in the 2020 Australian Academy of Science Awards.

Professor Marilyn Renfree AO FAA
2020 Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture

Professor Marilyn Renfree has pioneered modern research on Australian marsupial reproduction, development, evolution, conservation, and molecular and comparative genomics for 40 years. She has demonstrated the importance of marsupials for biomedical research as well as providing novel conservation and management approaches for our iconic kangaroos and koalas. Her lifetime passion for these long-neglected Australian animals has led to pioneering discoveries and insights that have challenged assumptions and opened new areas of biomedical research internationally.

Recently Professor Renfree’s recent research led to discovering the swamp wallaby can be permanently pregnant – the only mammal in the world known to do so.

Professor Nicole Bell
2020 Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science

Professor Nicole Bell is an outstanding theoretical astroparticle physicist who has made significant contributions in the areas of dark matter and particle theory, matter-antimatter asymmetries and neutrino astrophysics and cosmology. Her work has helped shape the interpretation of Large Hadron Collider searches for dark matter, using physically self-consistent descriptions of dark matter interactions. She has explored the link between dark matter and matter–antimatter asymmetries and examined whether the accumulation of dark matter in old neutron stars can result in gravitational collapse to black holes.

Professor Bell is also currently the Theory Program Leader for the ARC Centre for Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics.

Dr Jennifer Flegg
2020 Christopher Heyde Medal

Dr Jennifer Flegg is a mathematician in applied science, working to discover drug resistance in malaria control through predictive statistical models. These models fill in the gaps where no information is available on drug resistance and have been used by health agencies to develop new policies about where and when certain drugs are appropriate to use. Dr Flegg also develops models to understand the ways cells and chemicals interact during the healing of a skin wound. By building models that simulate the successful healing of a wound, she provides biological insight into the underlying healing mechanisms.

Dr Flegg is currently the recipient of an Australian Research Council Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) fellowship.