Future Fellowships awarded to ANU big thinkers

16 December 2015

The Australian National University (ANU) has secured five prestigious Future Fellowships, two of which have been awarded to the Research School of Biology, to research the effects of climate change on wildlife, and to combat infectious diseases.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO said the four-year Fellowships from the Australian Research Council reward the nation’s best and brightest mid-career researchers.

“To win five Fellowships in such diverse areas shows the breadth of world-class research leadership at ANU,” Professor Young said.

One of the fellowship recipients is biologist Dr Janet Gardner, who won a Future Fellowship to study which species and habitats are vulnerable to the effects of climate change by studying changes evolving in the size and shapes of birds.

“This work is at the forefront of a rapidly evolving field, which will help us to make the best use of the knowledge we have to respond to climate change and better manage species,” said Dr Gardner, from the ANU Research School of Biology (RSB).

Dr Gardner said the Fellowship would enable her to not only carry out her own field work but to also incorporate citizen science data.

“This data from the last 50 years is an incredible untapped resource,” said Dr Gardner.

Showing the breadth of research at RSB, a second Future Fellowship was awarded to Dr Denisse Leyton for her work fighting infections.

“As a new lab head, this Fellowship will allow me to grow and train a dynamic team of research scientists,” said Dr Leyton.

Dr Leyton studies disease-causing molecules called autotransporters, with the aim of developing ways to fight against them.

“This knowledge could be used to develop new antimicrobials to act as a new frontline of defence against a plethora of infectious diseases,” she said.

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