Lizard biologist scales the heights

mike-bullFlinders herpetologist Professor Michael Bull has been named as one of four finalists for the title of Scientist of the Year in the South Australian Science Excellence Awards.

Teams of Flinders University biologists led by Professor Bull (pictured) have been studying the pygmy bluetongue, the gidgee skink and the sleepy lizard for more than three decades, and he has been named as principal investigator of no less than 19 successful project grants from the Australian Research Council since 1977.

The projects have resulted in numerous discoveries about the extraordinary life cycle and habits of the sleepy lizard, including its tendency to pair with a mate for life. His work was featured on David Attenborough’s Life in Cold Blood in 2008.

More recently, Professor Bull’s research into the habits and social life of the pygmy bluetongue has been contributing to programs to conserve colonies of the lizards in South Australia’s mid-North.

Consultant ophthalmologist Dr Celia Chen, a Flinders University scientist and Flinders Medical Centre clinician, is a finalist in the Science Excellence Awards category for PhD Research Excellence in Health and Medical Sciences.

She was nominated for research that tested an intervention to dissolve the clot-causing Central Retinal Artery Occlusion, with results suggesting that the technique could reverse vision loss if given early enough after diagnosis.

The winners will be announced on November 3 at a gala dinner at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

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