Griffith researcher wins Young Tall Poppy award

2016 Young Tall Poppy Science recipient - Dr Ali Zaid

Institute for Glycomics scientist Dr Ali Zaid has been recognised at the prestigious 2016 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.

Dr Zaid is studying how the immune system responds to mosquito-borne viruses.

Mosquito-transmitted viral diseases, such as Ross River fever, are expanding in their global distribution and pose a significant threat to Australia.

“By understanding the role of different immune cells during infection, my research will help design more targeted approaches to limit the spread of the virus,” Dr Zaid said.

“Starting from the skin, where an infected mosquito bites, I am able to visualise how immune cells respond to a viral infection in living tissue, using a technique called intravital microscopy.”

Mosquito-borne virus outbreaks

With a recent spike in mosquito-borne virus outbreaks, theInstitute for Glycomics scientist believes it is crucial to have a good understanding of how different stages of immune responses unfold after infection.

Announced last night at the Premier’s Science and Innovation Reception at Parliament House in Brisbane, the awards recognise excellence in early career research and a passion and capacity to communicate science to the community.

The young scientists will give their time next year engaging with teachers, school students, parents and the broader community around Queensland and across Australia as part of the Tall Poppy Campaign run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.

Director of the Institute for Glycomics Professor Mark von Itzstein said it was vital for researchers to engage with the community and to communicate the importance of their work to the public at large.

World-class research

“Programs like the Tall Poppy Awards play an important role by giving the public a clearer sense of the range of innovative, world-class research work being undertaken at universities,’’ Professor von Itzstein said.

“It is also an opportunity for the community to be introduced to those who are likely to be our leading thinkers in the years to come and inspiring young people to consider careers in science.”

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, The Honourable Leeanne Enoch MP said science was an area where the best and brightest could change people’s lives.

“I’d like to congratulate all the young Queensland scientists recognised at the 2016 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.

“Their achievements and passion for engaging Queenslanders with science is truly remarkable and commendable.

“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 also passionately communicating how their research outcomes will affect the well-being of Queenslanders.

“Through the Palaszczuk Government’s $405 million whole-of-government Advance Queensland innovation initiative we are proudly support innovative scientists who are bringing their science research, information, activities and events to the people of Queensland.”

The QLD Young Tall Poppy Awards are run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) and have been heldsince 1998.