UPDATE: Professor Alan Mackay-Sim has been named the 2017 Queensland Australian of the Year

Scientist and international leader in stem cell research Professor Alan Mackay-Sim and Griffith University alumnus and humanitarianDr Nora Amath are Queensland finalists in the Australian of the Year Awards.

Professor Mackay-Sim, the former Director of the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research Centre, and Emeritus Professor at Griffith’s Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery has given hope to thousands of Australians with spinal cord injuries.

A global authority on the human sense of smell and the biology of nasal cells, Professor Mackay-Sim led the world’s first clinical trial using these cells in treatment of spinal cord injury.

His research has championed the use of stem cells to understand the biological bases of brain disorders and diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia.

Professor Mackay-Sim said his Australian of the Year nomination was a fantastic honour and would help raise awareness of stem cell research.

“It raises the issue of disability in the community and the importance of scientific research to advance clinical therapies,’’ he said.

Dr Amath completed her PhD at Griffith University in 2014 in the field of sociology of religion.

In 2006, she received the prestigious award of Australian Muslim Woman of the Year. In 2007 and again in 2012, she received the Australia Day Community Awards.

Dr Nora Amath.

Dr Nora Amath.

Queensland’s Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero Award recipients will be announced tonight (November 23, 2016) at Customs House in Brisbane.

The Queensland Award recipients will then join recipients from all other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards, which will be held in Canberra onJanuary 25, 2017.