Thursday, August 18, 2016 - 06:30
UQ's Young Tall Poppy winners
UQ's Young Tall Poppy winners

Investigating what we look for in a partner – and how that has affected human evolution – has led the University of Queensland’s Dr Barnaby Dixson to be named joint Queensland Tall Poppy of the Year.

The School of Psychology researcher was one of four UQ recipients at the 2016 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards, along with Dr Anna Hatton, Dr Luke Knibbs and Dr Shyuan Ngo. Dr Dixson shares the major Tall Poppy title with QUT's Dr Makrina Totsika.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leanne Enoch said each winner had a role in encouraging young Australians into tertiary study and the sciences.

“Their achievements and passion for engaging Queenslanders with science is truly remarkable and commendable,” Ms Enoch said.

“Queensland is home to a large pool of scientific talent and it is appropriate that we acknowledge these rising stars who are not only leading ground-breaking research but are also passionate about communicating how their research outcomes will affect the well-being of Queenslanders.

"Through the $405 million Advance Queensland initiative, we proudly support innovative scientists who bring their science research, information, activities and events to the people of Queensland.”

Dr Dixson receives $10,000 for use in research and promoting science-related activities.

He has published nine research papers in the past 18 months, using psychology, anthropological fieldwork and evolutionary biology to understand changes in human appearance over time.

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences lecturer Dr Hatton was named a Young Tall Poppy for a decade of research into the sensory receptors in human feet that help people remain upright.

Her research is of particular importance to older adults and people with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr Knibbs, from the School of Public Health, who has published 46 peer-reviewed articles, received a Young Tall Poppy title for research on airborne particles and impact on the global health burden.

“Airborne particle include viruses and bacteria, as well as pollutants, and together make a staggering contribution to allergies, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and cancer,” Dr Knibbs said.Dr Luke Knibbs

“By identifying ways to reduce them, I hope to make a positive contribution to public health policy.”

Dr Shyuan Ngo’s award was for researching simple and cost-effective treatments for people living with neuro-degenerative disease, with an emphasis on personalised treatment.

Dr Ngo is a Scott Sullivan Motor Neuron Disease Research Fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute, the UQ School of Biomedical Sciences and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s HospitalA total of 12 Young Tall Poppy recipients were named across Queensland for 2016.

Media: Robert Burgin, r.burgin@uq.edu.au, +617 3346 3035, +61 448 410 364.