Role models for the age of technology

Gillian Fisher has been highly commended in the PhD Career Start category at the Women in Technology award.
Gillian Fisher has been highly commended in the PhD Career Start category at the Women in Technology awards.

Science researchers at Griffith University have made their mark at the 2015 Women in Technology (WiT) Awards night at the Royal International Convention Centre.

Gillian Fisher, a PhD candidate at the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, was highly commended in the PhD Career Start category, while Dr Leigh Ellen Potter from the School of ICT received a commendation in the Life Sciences Research category.

The prestigious awards ceremony, now in its 18th year, recognises exceptional role models for young women considering a career in technology or life sciences.

“The professionalism, intelligence and ambition of these women is just extraordinary,” WiT president, Fiona Hayes, said.

“They are leading the way in technology and life sciences from pioneering lifesaving medical research to developing vaccines and medicines, and from driving global conservation to running successful and innovative businesses.”

Gillian Fisher started studying science at the age of 40 and is now a nationally-recognised researcher in her field.

Her work is focused on the fight against malaria, which involves investigating new chemical classes of drugs to combat malaria parasite resistance.

She was also a 2015 finalist in the prestigious ASMR Queensland Health and Medical Research Awards.

Gillian was awarded a Griffith University Equity Scholarship and enrolled in a Bachelor of Forensic Science. She received the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Dr-Leigh-Ellen-Potter smallLeigh Ellen Potter (left) was nominated for the Life Sciences Research Award, recognising significant contributions by women to the field of Life Sciences research and development.

She is the team lead for the ground-breaking Seek-and-Sign project, established to develop technologies to enhance the communication environments of very young deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Leigh is also team lead for the Emerging Experiences Lab, a new research project working with emerging technology.

“The WiT awards are about celebrating women who are experts in their fields and succeeding in male-dominated technology and life science positions,” Fiona Hayes said.

Two other Griffith researchers were nominated for the 2015 awards which covered nine categories.

Dr Qin Li from the Queensland Micro-and Nontechnology Centre, was also nominated in the Infotech Research category for women making a recognised contribution to the field of ICT research and development.

Professor Michele Burford, Australian Rivers Institute, was among four finalists in the competitive Life Sciences Research Award category.

The Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery will also host a Tour of the Nature Bank and Compounds Australia as part of WiT on October 14 from 5.30pm.