Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Society Fellow wins 2019 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

Fellow Elizabeth New The Royal Society of NSW is delighted that one of its Fellows and the recipient of its 2018 Edgeworth David Medal, Associate Professor Elizabeth New from the University of Sydney, has been awarded the 2019 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year. The Society congratulates Elizabeth New on this momentous achievement, and the recognition of the impact of her outstanding research.

Professor New, a chemical biologist, was awarded the Malcolm McIntosh Prize at the Prime Minister's Science Prizes ceremony held at Parliament House, Canberra on 16 October. This prize recognises exceptional, early-career achievements in the physical sciences made within 10 years of PhD graduation, with the recipient receiving $50,000 in prize money, a medallion, a lapel pin, and a certificate. In the case of Professor New, this recognition was for her pioneering work in developing new chemical imaging tools to observe healthy and diseased cells.

The research of Professor New has led to the development of different types of fluorescent sensors which make possible, at the molecular level, the observation of how cells cycle and change through events and over time. While existing imaging systems such as ultrasound and MRI provide valuable structural information, they are unable to characterise the nature and distribution of chemicals within the cell. It is here that the fluorescent sensors developed by Professor New make possible the observation of complex chemical processes within cells, enabling an understanding of how cells cycle through oxidative events over long periods, and in turn opening up potential breakthrough treatments for diseases associated with ageing (e.g., cardiovascular, cancer, and diabetes) that afflict 50% of Australians and which are responsible for 85% of deaths.

More on the oustanding achievements and portfolio of work of Associate Professor Elizabeth New can be found on the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science website.

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