UQ staff honoured in 2006 Australia Day awards

26 Jan 2006

Two senior members of The University of Queensland have been honoured in this year's Australia Day Honours List. 

Professor Paul Greenfield, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and IMB Board member, and Dr Peter Isdale, Chief Executive Officer of IMBcom – the UQ's commercialisation company for the Institute for Molecular Bioscience – have both been named in the 2006 awards. 

Professor Greenfield has been appointed as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to science and engineering, particularly through research in the areas of chemical engineering, biotechnology, wastewater and environmental management, and to the tertiary education sector. 

He said receiving the award was a great honour and reflected not just his work but that of the many people he had the pleasure of working with in his 30-plus-year career. 

Professor Greenfield, who came to UQ as a lecturer in chemical engineering in the mid 70s, said being part of the incredible growth of the University had been a highlight of his work. 

“The University of Queensland is now a major force on the national scene, something you wouldn't have said 20 years ago,” Professor Greenfield said. 

“The can-do attitude here and the growth and improvement in the quality of research and teaching is one of the reasons I have been attracted to stay.” 

He said other career highlights included the establishment of one of the first start-up biotechnology companies in Australia in the 1980s as well as chairing the Moreton Bay Waterways Partnership, which over the past 10 years has become the national benchmark for how to manage waterways. 

Professor Greenfield was also named as one of Australia's 100 most influential engineers in 2004 and was a recipient of a Centenary Medal in 2003. 

Dr Isdale has been appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to marine science through research and as a contributor to the development and commercialisation of biotechnology. 

“This honour really comes from being able to stand on the shoulders of giants in my career as a marine scientist and more recently in the area of commercialising research,” Dr Isdale said. 

“It is only because of great mentors and co-workers that I have been able to get where I am.” 

Dr Isdale started his career as a marine scientist and contributed to the world's knowledge of climate change by developing methods of unlocking the weather secrets contained in coral reefs around the world. 

He then traded in the wetsuit to become Business Director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science before taking up the position at IMBcom in 2003. 

“Here at IMBcom I have been privileged to lead a young team whose job it is to translate some of the excellent science at the IMB into valuable applications,” he said. 

“This in turn helps Queensland's knowledge-driven economy through the establishment of new biotech companies such as ElaCor, which is developing a compound from the world's deadliest snake – the taipan – into a treatment for heart disease.”