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Curtin student wins top science award

Media release

C304/08

14 November 2008

Curtin University of Technology Biomedical Sciences PhD student Melissa Corbett has won a top science award for her work on a strain of bacteria that is used to solubilise mineral deposits.

The second year PhD student, of Como, has won the WA competition of the 2008 AusBiotech-GSK Student Excellence Award.

She received a trip to Melbourne to attend the Australian Biotechnology Conference where she presented her research.

Ms Corbett was excited about winning the award and the networking opportunities offered by the conference.

“Biomining, the area of biotechnology I am studying, is in its infancy so making contacts with others who are studying and working in this area is very important,” she said.

“There is a large scope for research in the biomining area, so hopefully I will be able to meet some people that I may work collaboratively with in the future.

“I am really looking forward to learning more about where my research can take me in the future after attending the conference.”

The AusBiotech-GSK Student Excellence Awards are open to first and second year PhD students at Australian universities who are working on projects that potentially have a commercial application.  Winners are chosen from each of the states in Australia and then invited to present at the Australian Biotechnology Conference.

Ms Corbett’s research focuses on the metabolic functions of  a particular strain of bacteria and how this information can be used to advance biomining technologies, having implications for the way in which minerals will be extracted in the future.

This research is especially important for WA with its wealth of mineral deposits in the north of the State to allow easier methods of mining in the future.

After completing her Bachelor of Science (Molecular Genetics) with honours at Curtin University in 2001, Ms Corbett worked in Sydney for two years before working at Kings College, London doing research for two years.  She returned to WA in 2007 to start her PhD which she hopes to complete in 2010.  Ms Corbett is also undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation through the Australian Technology Network, of which Curtin is a member.

Modified: 19 November 2008