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07 Nov 2016

Congratulations Dr Laura Mackay: Victorian Young Tall Poppy Science Award winner

University of Melbourne’s Dr Laura Mackay, who heads a lab at the Doherty Institute has been selected as a 2016 Victorian Young Tall Poppy – an award designed to celebrate up-and-coming scientists who combine world-class research with a passionate commitment to communicating science.

Dr Mackay is one of 10 winners announced today by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS), that showcase the diversity of the research carried out in Victoria.

“My research looks at the identification of tissue-resident memory T cells, which reside in barrier tissues in the body. These immune cells are critical to combatting viral infection and can form an effective first line of defence,” she said.

“I’m so honoured to be a Victorian Young Tall Poppy, it’s a testament to the fantastic team of scientists I work with and I’m really looking forward to the year ahead where I can share my knowledge and experience with the community.”

Dr Mackay’s work has major implications for developing vaccine strategies to induce immune cells in tissues that protect locally against a wide range of infections.

“Laura is an incredible young scientist and a much-deserving winner of a Tall Poppy prize, she has already achieved a great deal in research and academia” Doherty Institute Director, Professor Sharon Lewin said.

“She is such a fantastic ambassador for science and I congratulate her on behalf of everyone here at the Doherty Institute.”

AIPS General Manager, Ms Camille Thomson said many Young Tall Poppies go on to become inspiring leaders in their field.

“They also help to be positive science ambassadors by working with the education and community sectors to encourage greater engagement in science,” Ms Thomson said.

As part of the Young Tall Poppy campaign, award winners will spend a year sharing their knowledge with school students, teachers and the broader community through workshops, seminars and public lectures.

Young Tall Poppies are nominated by their peers and are early career researchers who have under ten years’ post-doctoral experience. Selection is based on research achievement and leadership potential.