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Best and brightest recognised in 2017 research awards

The man behind Australia’s development and advanced manufacturing of nuclear medicine used in hospitals to diagnose cancers and heart disease has been amongst a number of researchers recognised for their achievements at the ANSTO Awards in Nuclear Science and Technology 2017 presentation dinner.

Michael Druce received the Sustained Contribution for his key role in Australia’s advancement and manufacturing of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) which helps millions of Australians and people across the world every year to achieve better health outcomes.

The Award winners were:

  • Michael Druce – Sustained Contribution to ANSTO Award – For his role in the development of Australia’s capabilities to manufacture and distribute nuclear medicine to hospitals and clinics around Australia.
  • Jessica Veliscek-Carolan – ANSTO Early Career Award – For her role in looking for improvements in the safe and sustainable management of radioactive waste.
  • The Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (ACNS) Sample Environment team – George Collins Award for Innovation – For providing innovative solutions to the national and international scientific community allowing the execution of challenging and non-standard neutron beam experiments at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering resulting in high impact science and technological advances.
  • Joseph Bevitt – Excellence in Science Communication and Outreach Award – For his skills in translating complex scientific ideas and concepts to broad audiences – from the general public, government and to future the next generation of researchers.

ANSTO CEO Dr Adi Paterson said it was a real privilege to work amongst such a talented cohort of individuals.

“All of those recognised are highly deserving of these awards. I congratulate them all for their outstanding achievement,” Dr Paterson said.

“Their ongoing commitment to research and innovation truly makes ANSTO an exciting place to be right now.

“You may not realise it but the work of people like Michael Druce has helped to ensure nuclear medicine is available to all Australians, saving many lives over his 37 year career at ANSTO.

“Michael’s unfortunately not a household name but he’s touched the lives of roughly one in two Australians who have benefited from a nuclear medicine procedure at some point in their lives.

“Michael was also recently presented the inaugural international award on research reactor networks and nuclear medicine at the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA) in October 2017.

“Our people are our greatest asset and it’s important to our organisation to celebrate their achievements and motivate them to be the best.

“In 2017 we introduced a new award – Excellence in Science Communication and Outreach – recognising an individual who has made an effort to inspire and nurture the future generation of scientists and engineers.

About the recipients

Michael Druce was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the healthcare of Australians. Mr Druce has played a fundamental role in the development and manufacturing process of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).

Mo-99 is the parent isotope of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) which is used in many nuclear medicine procedures to diagnose diseases such as heart disease and cancer and to diagnose skeletal injuries. Technetium-99m is separated from Mo-99 by a device known as a Tc-99m generator. Michael was involved in the development of ANSTO’s generator.

Jessica Veliscek-Carolan works in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Research group at Lucas Heights, looking at spent fuel management and reducing the hazards associated with radioactive waste.

The Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (ACNS) Sample Environment team were recognised for their ability to provide innovative solutions for challenging neutron beam experiments, combining neutron scattering, high impact science, engineering, technical expertise and fantastic customer service. At ACNS neutrons are used to determine the structure and properties of many classes of materials, helping scientists understand why materials have the properties they do, and helping tailor new materials, devices and systems.

Joseph Bevitt was recognised for his skill in translating complex scientific ideas and concepts to broad audiences – from the general public, government and to future generation of researchers. As ANSTO’s Research Office Manager, Joseph is passionate about showcasing ANSTO’s capabilities to students and tapping their curiosity to consider potential careers in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Source: ANSTO

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