Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Society Fellows elected as 2022 Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science

RSNSW Seal The Royal Society of NSW is delighted to learn of the recognition of four of its Fellows as new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, elected in May 2022. 

They are Professor Katherine Belov AO FRSN FAA  (Biologist, University of Sydney), Professor Marcela Bilek FRSN FAA (Physicist, University of Sydney), Professor Emma Johnston AO FRSN FAA FTSE (Marine Biologist, formerly of UNSW Sydney and now the University of Sydney), and Professor Albert Zomaya  FRSN FAA (Computer Scientist, University of Sydney). As Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, they are among Australia’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for ground-breaking research.

Professor Kathy BelovThe Academy citation for Professor Kathy Belov states that “[she] is acknowledged for her ground-breaking work using genetics and genomics to trace the evolution of mammalian immunity to overturn the paradigm that marsupials and monotremes have primitive immune systems. She has shown that lineage-specific evolutionary innovations provide marsupials and monotremes with additional defence mechanisms and that these offer exciting drug leads for humans and other animals. After determining the role that the Major Histocompatibility Complex plays in the spread of Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, Belov led the genetic management of the recovery program to successfully increase the immune fitness of wild populations through genetic rescue. She continues to work with government agencies to boost the immunogenetic resilience of native species threatened by disease.”

Professor Marcela BilekThe Academy citation for Professor Marcela Bilek notes that “[she]  is internationally known for contributions to the science and technology of plasma processes for surface engineering of materials, particularly utilizing energetic ions to control intrinsic stress and microstructure and to create a versatile new technology platform for the fabrication of advanced bio-interfaces. Her work has enabled new capabilities in a range of settings including magnetic storage devices, solid fuel plasma thrusters, implantable biomedical devices, in-vitro cell culture systems, diagnostics, stem cell and gene therapy, and nanomedicine.”

Professor Emma JohnstonThe Academy citation for Professor Emma Johnston notes that “[she] is a leader in the field of marine ecology, whose pioneering research has been widely adopted into policy by governments in Australia and overseas. She is also a highly influential leader, advocate and ‘voice’ for Australian science. Johnston is the immediate past President of Science and Technology Australia (STA). She previously led one of the largest science faculties in the country at the University of New South Wales and serves as Director of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Board. Combined with her extensive track record of science communication and outreach, Johnston is an exceptional role model and science champion.”

Professor Albert ZomayaThe Academy citation for Professor Albert Zomaya states that “[he] a world-renowned computer scientist who has made significant contributions to the field of parallel and distributed systems. He stands out as a researcher with an exceptionally large and diverse set of high-quality contributions. He has published on aspects of parallel and distributed systems in the top venues of several research communities. His work is influential, of high impact, and of great practical value. Zomaya is also an excellent leader, passionate educator, skilled communicator, and committed mentor..”

The Council of the Royal Society of NSW extends its warmest congratulations to Professor Belov, Professor Bilek, Professor Johnston, and Professor Zomaya on this recognition of their outstanding scientific achievements.

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