Kai Chan wins ACT Young Tall Poppy science award

Thursday 26 October 2017
Kai Chan and Camille Thomson, General Manager of the Tall Poppy Campaign, Australian Institute of Policy and Science. Image: Bradley Cummings

Dr Kai Xun Chan has been honoured for his contributions to science in the ACT Tall Poppy Awards for 2017.

Kai Chan, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology at the Research School of Biology,  was one of three researchers from ANU to win the award this year, with Dr Julie Banfield from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Dr Dave Pasalich from the Research School of Psychology.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brain Schmidt congratulated the winners.

"Julie, Dave and Kai are excellent young scientists who are conducting research which will have a real impact on Australia and the world," Professor Schmidt said.

"On behalf of the University, I congratulate them on their awards."

Dr Chan has discovered a protein within plant cells that can sense drought and help plants preserve water. He is working on a spray that can activate the protein and help plants survive longer through drought.

"I'm absolutely honoured, a little terrified but also very excited," Dr Chan said.

"I look at the list of past winners and I can see that I am joining the ranks of an elite group of early-middle career scientists so I have some pretty big shoes to fill. But at the same time the stories and experiences of the past winners are so inspiring that I can't wait to get going and do my bit as a Young Tall Poppy Science Ambassador. "

The Tall Poppy Campaign was created in 1998 by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) to recognise and celebrate Australian scientific excellence and to encourage younger Australians to follow in the footsteps of our outstanding achievers.

AIPS General Manager Camile Thomson said the winners would spend a year sharing their knowledge with school students, teachers and the broader community through workshops, seminars and public lectures.

"These Tall Poppies are excellent examples of the cutting-edge research being undertaken here in the ACT," Ms Thomson said.

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