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Dr Tania de Koning-Ward from Deakin University’s School of Medicine has been named among Australia’s top 10 best and brightest researchers by the National Health and Medical Research Council,
Recognition in the NHMRC Excellence Awards places Dr de Koning-Ward in the top 10 of the nearly 5000 researchers who applied for NHMRC funding in 2010.
“As the highest ranking applicants in their funding schemes, the 10 researchers have been assessed by their peers as meeting the highest national and international standards for their research,” said Professor Warwick Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of the NHMRC.
Dr de Koning-Ward was recognised for her research aimed at eradicating malaria. A recent discovery by Dr de Koning-Ward and her colleagues identified how the malaria parasite remodels its host red blood cell to enhance its survival and cause the deadly disease.
“I am truly honoured to receive this award from the NHMRC,” Dr de Koning-Ward said.
“ It means that I will be able to focus full time on identifying ways to block the pathway the parasite uses to cause malaria. This is an exciting phase in the research as it could lead to new drugs to combat this devastating disease.”
Dr de Koning-Ward said winning the award was also proof that it is possible to balance a research career with raising a family.
“For six years I gave up full-time research to raise my two children,” Dr de Koning-Ward said
“Being a recipient of this award shows other researchers that if you have a great support network behind you like I did, both at home and work, it is possible to have a fulfilling research career and raise a family.”
Head of the School of Medicine, Professor Brendan Crotty said the award is a great endorsement of the School’s expanding research profile.
“I am delighted and very proud that one of our medical scientists has been recognised as one of the top researchers in the country,” Professor Crotty said.
“In a few short years the School has established a reputation for research excellence that has been underpinned by the success of our researchers in attracting research grants and awards such as this one.”