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Matthew Hill stands tall amongst Victoria’s 2011 winners


From effectively capturing dangerous gases to producing better solar energy solutions; from protecting our families from Alzheimer’s to reducing the potential impact of racism on health outcomes; and from enhancing the life chances of premature babies to building new materials that might act like a sponge for carbon dioxide.

Six Young Tall Poppy researchers from across Victoria were recognised for their work that will affect all our lives both now and well into the future at the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute on 29 November amongst their families and friends, research, education and community colleagues.

Dr Matthew Hill at CSIRO received the $5,000 prize as Victorian Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year as the most outstanding researcher and communicator amongst the six winners.

Matthew has developed ultraporous materials known as metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for use in gas storage, purification, and delivery. Bonding a gas to a surface means it packs in many times more densely than possible as a compressed gas and the MOFs he has developed presently hold world records for storage of hydrogen and natural gas at room temperature, and carbon dioxide at zero degrees. He discovered the first MOFs made of very lightweight atoms enabling an increase in hydrogen capacity per gram of material. These research outcomes impact clean energy and energy efficient technologies. They have found application in the automotive industry and generated strong collaboration from the global scientific community.

The six 2011 Victorian Young Tall Poppy scientists are at the forefront of their fields and driving the future of science in Victoria, nationally and globally. They are all passionate about engaging with the public and the next generation of potential scientists. Their key message was – innate curiosity and great mentors and team members have helped them get to where they are, and they are keen to play their role in turn.

Dr Matthew Hill
Research Area: Materials Chemistry
CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering
Dr Hill has helped to develop smart materials called metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for use in gas storage, purification, and delivery. Matthew’s research outcomes impact clean energy and energy efficient technologies, including carbon capture. They have found application in the automotive industry and generated strong collaboration from the global scientific community.

Dr Yin Paradies
Research Area: Social epidemiology
University of Melbourne
Dr Paradies is trying to understand the effects of racism that occur through inequitable or reduced access to societal resources such as employment, education, housing and medical care, alongside psychosocial stress. He focuses on the potential to change attitudes beliefs and behaviours, breaking down barriers between diverse groups, and exploring the challenges and benefits of diversity.

Dr Fiona Scholes
Research Area: Surface and interface science
Dr Scholes is working to improve the future of solar energy and the potential for flexible and cost effective solutions. She has applied her expertise in the characterisation of surfaces and interfaces to high sensitivity chemical detection, self-healing paint coatings, and organic solar cells, including for better paint systems for aircraft. Her work focuses on organic photovoltaics and improving their energy conversion efficiency.

Dr Alicia Spittle
Research Area: Paediatrics / Newborn Medicine
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Australia is facing what could be described as an Alzheimer’s epidemic with the number of people with Alzheimer’s Dementia set to increase by fivefold by 2050.  A/Prof Scholes dedicates her research and clinical expertise towards prevention and potentially reducing the incidence and rate of progression of this disease by focusing on earlier stages such as through her work on the Women’s Healthy Ageing Study

Associate Professor Cassandra Szoeke
Research Area: Healthy Ageing
National Ageing Research Institute
Dr Spittle’s research is investigating the effects of early intervention programs to improve development of children born very prematurely, along with early identification of motor problems.  Alicia’s research has shown that early intervention for premature babies and their families can improve some key areas of development in infancy and that we can identify motor problems within the first few months of life.

Dr David Turner
Research Area: Chemistry
Monash University
Dr Turner explores how molecules are attracted to each other and fit together allowing us to develop new materials to deliberately interact with biologically or environmentally important molecules. These compounds could address global issue of the environmental impact from increasing industrialisation. One of his aims is to build new materials as building blocks and then study the ability of these to act like a sponge for carbon dioxide.

The Victorian Young Tall Poppy Awards are supported by Deakin University, the University of La Trobe, Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, with national support through the Department of Health and Ageing. The awards evening was supported by the Bio21 Institute.