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Australian Government - ABRS logo

Tasmanian student wins Australian Biological Resources Study 2004 PhD Scholarship

29 March 2004

Chair of the ABRS Advisory Committee, Dr Ian Gould, today announced that the 2004 ABRS PhD Scholarship, with a total value of $79,000, has been awarded to a University of Tasmania student.

Jimmy Twin was awarded the scholarship to study ‘Antarctic Actinobacteria' over three years.

“The ABRS PhD Scholarship is part of the ABRS Grants Program, administered by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, that allocates approximately $1.8 million dollars each year toward comprehensive research to document Australia's biodiversity,” said Dr Gould.

“An important part of the ABRS program is the training of early career researchers in the taxonomy of Australian flora and fauna . ABRS offers one postgraduate award each year to an outstanding student wishing to pursue a higher degree in this area. ABRS is currently funding four PhD scholars. ABRS Bursaries are also awarded to postgraduate students to attend conferences on systematics or taxonomy. ”

In 2003, the Australian Government committed funds for a further four years to continue the work of the Australian Biological Resources Study to extend the biodiversity knowledge base.

Dr Gould congratulated Mr Twin on having been selected for the award, which includes a stipend and research support funding. Mr Twin will study within the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research (TIAR), which is a research institute in the University of Tasmania, formed as a partnership between the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, the University of Tasmania and Tasmanian agricultural industries.

The Australian Government has a commitment to research that contributes to an understanding and the protection of the Antarctic environment. Mr Twin's research will focus on microorganisms that have been collected from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic soil samples. Preliminary studies indicate that this collection may contain new species of both bacteria and fungi.

“This research will contribute to our understanding of lesser-known groups, including microorganisms, and may reveal something of our evolutionary history. Actinobacteria are of particular interest in the development of new pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics,” Dr Gould said.

Jimmy Twin completed his undergraduate studies in Queensland in 2001 and has since completed research projects that will assist his future studies into the molecular and chemical analysis of Antarctic bacteria.

Further information on ABRS training schemes including the PhD scholarships is available at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/admin/training.