Professor Jozef Gecz was named South Australia’s Scientist of the Year at the Science Excellence Awards last night.

Professor Gecz is a leader in genetics and biology of childhood onset neurodevelopment disability and Head of the Neurogenetics Research Program at the University of Adelaide.

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said Professor Gecz was a research pioneer with an enviable track record in gene discovery in intellectual disability, epilepsy, autism and more recently, cerebral palsy.

“Congratulations to Professor Gecz, whose work has helped to establish South Australia as an international leader in the field of gene disease discovery,” Minister Pisoni said.

“With more than 20 peer reviewed publications – including a paper in the esteemed journal Nature – in the past year, Professor Gecz is an internationally recognised expert in his field.

“He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.

“His research has had worldwide impact and his work has transformed the understanding of causes and underlying mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disability, leading to clinical trials, informed national and international policy, and improved health care delivery.”

All winners revealed last night:

  • Unsung Hero of South Australian Science: Zoos SA Research Laboratory
  • Unsung Hero of South Australian Science Communication: Dr Philip Roetman, City of Burnside
  • South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year: Dr Nigel Rogasch, University of Adelaide and SAHMRI
  • PhD Research Excellence: Dorothea Dumuid, UniSA
  • STEM Educator of the Year in School Teaching: Ms Anthea Ponte, Hawthorndene Primary School
  • STEM Educator of the Year in Tertiary Teaching: Associate Professor Tom Raimondo, UniSA
  • STEM Professional of the Year: Dr Mark Skanes, Principal Engineer Dommar Pty Ltd
  • Excellence in Research Collaboration: “B Part Of It” Meningococcal B vaccine

Chief Scientist Caroline McMillen said the Awards, in their fifteenth year, have recognised the efforts and achievements of more than 90 winners.

“The South Australian Science Excellence Awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the collaboration, research and ideas that are building South Australia’s reputation as the ‘State of Science’,” Professor McMillen said.

For more information about the winners:

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