Bright Flinders minds become Tall Poppies

Flinders researcher Dr Bradley Simpson
Dr Bradley Simpson is one of two Flinders recipients of the 2014 Tall Poppy Awards.

Medical discoveries with the potential to treat conditions ranging from cancer to golden staph have earned two Flinders University researchers a prestigious Tall Poppy Award for 2014.

Dr Ramiz Boulos from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and Dr Bradley Simpson from the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer received the award for their outstanding contributions to science at a Government House reception hosted by SA Governor Kevin Scarce last night (July 28).

The annual Tall Poppy Awards aim to recognise South Australia’s best and brightest young scientists who combine world-class research with a passion and commitment to science communication, as well as demonstrating leadership potential.

Dr Boulos, who specialises in novel antibiotic development, is working to develop a new class of antibiotics to combat multi-drug resistant bacteria, including golden staph, which is commonly found in skin infections, surgical wounds, pneumonia and in the bloodstream.

As part of his research, Dr Boulos has developed two new antibiotics which have shown significant activity against multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Dr Simpson, who specialises in Indigenous-guided, plant-based drug discovery, is working with Aboriginal communities in Cape York Peninsula in Queensland to explore the health benefits and healing properties of traditional native plants to identify possible cancer-treating compounds.

His work is also helping Aboriginal people to establish businesses on traditional homelands and preserve their knowledge and culture for future generations.

Dr Simpson, a recipient of Flinders University’s 2013 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Early Career Researchers, said it is a “great honour” to be a Tall Poppy, and expressed gratitude to his mentors, supervisors, collaborators and colleagues for shaping his research career journey.

“I would especially like to mention David Claudie and the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation for whom I have worked with for the past eight years. The vision he has for his people is what has helped steer my career,” Dr Simpson said.

SA Tall Poppy Awards Campaign Director, Flinders University Professor Ross McKinnon, said the awards provide a pathway to identify outstanding researchers and science communicators as role models for furthering the science and technology agenda.

“Past Tall Poppy recipients are now established in many leadership roles in the scientific community,” Professor McKinnon, Director of Research at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, said.

“We seek to identify those younger researchers best positioned to engage with the community at all levels in relation to the advancement of science and technology,” he said.

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