IMB researchers claim top prizes in QLD Women in STEM

27 September 2020

IMB researchers have proven they top the state, with two of the three winners of the Queensland Women in STEM awards going to the Institute.

Dr Denuja Karunakaran won the People's Choice Award, while Samantha Nixon took out the Jury Award category.

Queensland Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch said each of the winners were doing pioneering work in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields.

“Ms Nixon’s research focuses on using spider venoms to make next-generation antiparasitic drugs that are urgently needed to protect both people and the Australian sheep industry. 

“Through science communication, Samantha is a passionate advocate for addressing inequality in STEM, education and leadership and hopes that sharing her passion for spiders will help inspire the next generation of Australian scientists. 

“All of these amazing women should be applauded and their research, which makes a real impact on our lives, will spark enthusiasm for STEM subjects and careers,” Minister Enoch said. 

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer announced Denuja Karunakaran as the winner of the People’s Choice category. 

“It is a great honour to be involved in an event that shows young women and girls they can do anything and be the best in the world at what they choose to do,” Ms Farmer said.   

“I want to congratulate Denuja not only for being the winner of the People’s Choice Award but also her ground-breaking research.

“Denuja’s discovery of a gene that increases the risk of obesity has world-wide implications.

“Identifying the gene could be the first step in preventing obesity or finding an effective treatment."

Toni Hay, an Environmental Scientist and Aboriginal Woman from Gamilaraay Nation was named winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Jury Award category.

Each winner will receive $5,000 in prize money for professional development and research thanks to the generous support of the Queensland Museum Network, the Palaszczuk Government and the BHP Foundation.