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Two Greek Australians win in South Australia’s science and innovation awards




Professor Maria Makrides from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and artist Niki Sperou from the Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development (CMBD) at Flinders University have won in the 2022 SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards.

The awards, held at the SA Film Corporation’s Glenside studios, recognise South Australians excelling at Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), while showcasing the importance of science, research and innovation.

Professor Makrides took out the prestigious SA Scientist of the Year award for her working on improving the lives of pregnant women and young children through nutrition.

The SAHMRI congratulated her on her achievement on Twitter and said she has done “such an amazing job over many years… in pursuing ground-breaking research into preterm birth and other perinatal health issues.”

In an interview with The Greek Herald in August, Professor Makrides detailed how her multidisciplinary team of over 70 staff and students led the clinical studies that changed international food laws, and established specific nutrient recommendations for pregnancy and infancy worldwide.  

“To have the work my team and I have done over the last 20 odd years recognised is great,” the Professor said at the time.

Elsewhere, Ms Sperou and the team at the CMBD, led by Professor Wei Zhang, won in the Excellence in Science and Industry Collaboration category. 

Ms Sperou and her team work collaboratively with SA industry to transform sustainable materials into high-value products such as medicines, biodegradable plastics, bio-inks, nutrition drinks, and eco-friendly fertilisers.

In a previous interview, Ms Sperou had said that her Greek language skills are useful in the lab, while she often uses philosophy and mythology to explain science. 

SA’s Deputy Premier and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Susan Close, attended the awards night and congratulated all the winners.

“With winners representing health, education, geology—as well as the cutting-edge fields of quantum physics and marine bioproducts—our future looks bright!” Ms Close said.

Almost 400 guests attended the award night which was sponsored by Novatech Creative Event Technology, Commonwealth Bank and Telstra.

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