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It was a red-letter day for Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials when the 2013 Victorian Postdoctoral Research Fellowships were announced on October 8th.
For the first time, the Institute had two successful recipients, Dr Jin Zhang and Dr Nishar Hameed.
“This is a great day for IFM,” said the Director, Professor Peter Hodgson.
“To have, for the first time, two people given this prestigious award is another wonderful sign of our continuing growth as a research institution.
“On behalf of IFM, I offer them our heartiest congratulations.”
The Victorian Government awards these Fellowships to strengthen the State’s innovation capability and global networks in the physical and life sciences.
“It is a great honour for me to receive this award and I want to thank Deakin for all the support I have received while at the University,” Dr Zhang said.
Dr Hameed also said he was honoured to receive his Fellowship.
“It is an award not only for me, but for Deakin, and especially for my colleagues who have supported me since my arrival in Australia,” he said.
Dr Zhang will use the Victoria Fellowship to understand how the extremely light-weight, thin cocoons protect the wild silkworms from physical attacks and extreme weather.
“I want to create and develop new lightweight materials for personal protection, load-bearing and energy-absorbing purposes,” she said.
“This fellowship will provide a valuable opportunity for me to visit and work in the most prestigious silk research organisations in the world.”
These include the University of Oxford, Arizona State University and Fudan University, Shanghai.
The Fellowship will also strengthen the research collaborations and establish ongoing linkages between Deakin and high profile international research organizations in the UK, US and China for transforming Victorian industries into the future.
Dr Zhang also recently won an Endeavour Fellowship.
Dr Hameed will use his prize to develop highly sensitive medical imaging agents which diagnose and distinguish diseased tissue from normal tissue and provide information on a disease state and monitor the effect of a treatment.
Like Dr Zhang, Dr Hameed has also won a number of prestigious prizes after joining Deakin from Kerala in India in 2007.
In 2011, he won the Alfred Deakin Medal for Best Doctoral Thesis in the sciences part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prizes and Awards.
The year before Dr Hameed won The Early Researcher section of the Smart Geelong Researcher of the Year Awards.
“Coming to Deakin has been a very positive move for me,” says Dr Hameed who lives in Geelong with his wife Nisa, also a talented researcher, and his other pride and joy, their daughter Nilu.
(Interview about 25 minutes in)