Smart Geelong Researcher of the Year Awards 2013

18 November 2013

Multiple prizes for Deakin University researchers.

Deakin University has been successful in a number of award categories at the Smart Geelong Researcher of the Year Awards for 2013.

Professor Svetha Venkatesh, the Director of PRADA, won the prestigious Barwon Health Researcher of the Year Award.

Driven by the difficulties in clinician ratings of suicide risk, Professor Venkatesh and her team have been using pattern recognition and data analysis to more accurately predict and prevent suicide behaviours among mental health patients. This work was also rewarded with the Geelong Chamber of Commerce Smart Technology Award.

Professor Michael Berk, Director of IMPACT, whose team has been working closely with PRADA on this important research, accepted the awards on behalf of Professor Venkatesh.

"This award deserved recognition for Svetha and her team's ground breaking research. Clinically there is recognised difficulty in predicting the risks of suicide but with the aid of this research the accuracy of predictions is improved greatly", said Professor Berk.

Continuing a recent run of success, Dr Lana Williams, also from IMPACT, took out the Karingal Living with a Disability Award for her research into psychiatric disorders, psychotropic agents and bone health.

Dr Vanessa Vaughan, from the School of Medicine, claimed the Shell Geelong Biotechnology/Biomedical Award for her research that is looking at the role of fatty acid supplementation in an interdisciplinary approach to the treatment of cancer-induced muscle atrophy. Dr Vaughan's table celebrated in style - rewarding her with a standing ovation.

The final award category of the evening was for the Deakin University Early Researchers. Dr Weiwei Lei, Dr Sarah Shigdar and Dr Vanessa Vaughan backing up her earlier triumph, were all successful.

Dr Lei's work is focused on looking at nanomaterials for future light emissions, energy storage and water cleaning.

Dr Shigdar is developing a smart platform to treat tumour metastases.

The Smart Geelong Network aims to raise awareness of and facilitate access to the capabilities of the Geelong region's educational and research agencies and organisations. It is not just about fostering Geelong's own local talent but encouraging others to come to Geelong to work and undertake research to boost employment, recruitment and retention in the region as well as promoting the excellence already in Geelong.

Deakin University Early Researchers Dr Vanessa Vaughan, Dr Weiwei Lei and Dr Sarah Shigdar with their awards. Deakin University Early Researchers Dr Vanessa Vaughan, Dr Weiwei Lei and Dr Sarah Shigdar with their awards.

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