Young researchers recognised in Fresh Science Awards
Dr Heba Al Khamici researches cellular proteins in a UTS Life Sciences laboratory.
UTS Science researchers Heba Al Khamici and Alexandra Thompson have been recognised with nominations in the 2015 Fresh Science Awards.
The Fresh Science Awards are a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery.
Heba Al Khamici, Associate Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences, was nominated for discovering a new function of evolutionary conserved proteins (opens an external site) in humans and mammals.
“We found there are new antioxidants that—as well as their function as gate keepers—can be used to investigate the possibility to stop the progression or occurrence of several diseases, such as senile cataract of the intra-ocular lens as well as cholesterol related diseases,” she said.
Heba’s nomination in the Fresh Science Awards has allowed for her work to be seen by a wider audience.
“People may know that we are conducting work in science labs but they should also know why we are doing that work,” she said. “It is very important for scientists to be able to explain their research in language that appeals to not only other scientists but people who may not have the educational background.
“The average person may not be able to understand the scientific terminology that we use in our daily work at the lab or university.
Therefore, we should use easier language so other people around us can understand our scientific research and most importantly, its significance: how it is going to help them to live better or improve their understanding.”
Alexandra Thompson, a PhD candidate, has found that we are rapidly losing vital carbon storage (opens an external site) that we didn’t know we had, with human activities causing the decimation of seagrass fields in areas around Sydney.
These conditions have left seagrass vulnerable to burrowing animals such as yabbies, worms and crabs.
Alex Thomson, a PhD student at the University of Technology Sydney, inspects a yabbie who burrows into vulnerable seagrass, releasing carbon-dioxide into the water.
Seagrass meadows currently store the equivalent of three years of Australia’s carbon emissions, but yabbies, worms and crabs are causing the carbon to be released back into the water as carbon-dioxide, turning seagrass into a source of carbon release, rather than a carbon store.
Alexandra said the media training by Fresh Science (opens an external site), provided as part of her successful nomination, was quite helpful in relaying her research.
“It was certainly insightful,” she said. “I would suggest anyone wanting to communicate their ideas better to consider refining their communication skills.
It’s important to communicate scientific ideas effectively to get people engaged with your research. The extra interest this generates cannot be underestimated.”