On Wednesday 18th May, AINSE had the privilege of awarding AINSE Scholar Gold Medals for excellence and impact in research to Dr. Jessie Posar (University of Wollongong), Dr. Damien Finch (The University of Melbourne), and Dr. Shinji Kihara (The University of Auckland).
PhD student Calla Gould-Whaley from the University of Melbourne was also acknowledged for her receipt of the John Ferris Memorial Scholarship as the highest-ranked AINSE PGRA scholar for 2021 in the Archaeology, Geosciences and Environmental Sciences specialist areas.
The 2022 award recipients were joined by family, friends and colleagues as they were presented with the medals by AINSE President Professor Ian Gentle and AINSE Managing Director Michelle Durant in front of an audience of AINSE member representatives. The ceremony was hosted from the AINSE Theatre and livestreamed via Zoom, with Dr. Posar and Dr. Finch present in the Theatre and Dr. Kihara joining remotely.
Dr. Jessie Posar’s research, focusing on wearable tissue-equivalent radiation detectors, is set to significantly improve outcomes for patients undergoing radiotherapy. Over the course of her PhD, Jessie’s research demonstrated that organic semiconductors were feasible low-cost radiation detectors in clinical settings, and created a new manufacturing paradigm for radiation detectors with flexible devices. As a result, Jessie was invited to write the first ever review of printed organic radiation detectors, and her findings have helped bring together an international network of world experts to explore the exciting prospects of this technology on dosimetry and quality assurance in clinical and industrial environments.
Dr. Damien Finch’s research led to the development of new techniques to address a previously intractable problem: how to determine the age of rock art older than a few thousand years. By creating new methods to produce reliable radiocarbon age estimates for mud wasp nests found in contact with rock art, and combining the age constraints from multiple dated wasp nests, Damien was able to date the oldest in situ rock painting so far reported in Australia – a 2 metre long painting of a kangaroo painted between 17,500 and 17,100 years ago.
Dr. Shinji Kihara’s research centres around biologically-relevant colloidal materials with a particular focus on nanoplastic toxicity. Shinji’s work has linked structural information on nanoplastics to biological impacts, and these new insights into nanoplastic toxicology led to Shinji being accepted for an internship at the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor in New Zealand, where he reviewed New Zealand’s regulatory framework around nanoparticles. This review is informing changes to the New Zealand nanoparticle safety standards to bring them in line with international best practice.
AINSE wishes to congratulate Dr. Posar, Dr. Finch and Dr. Kihara on their outstanding accomplishments. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of their next research endeavours.