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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
69 world beaters MEDICAL RESEARCH MARK TESTER OCCUPATION: RESEARCH PROFESSOR BEST KNOW FOR Pioneer in developing salt tolerant plants An international team of scientists lead by Professor Mark Tester developed salt-tolerant plants using a new type of genetic modification (GM). The breakthrough has brought salt-tolerant cereal crops a step closer. The research team, based at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus, used a new GM technique to contain salt in parts of the plant where it does less damage. Salinity affects agriculture worldwide. It is a problem that is only going to get worse, as pressure to use less water increases and quality of water decreases. The team is now transferring this technology to crops such as rice, wheat and barley. ❝ Agriculture is an important component of Australia's economy, despite the challenging environment here, and both government and industry have the vision to invest significantly in research to keep this sector at the forefront of technological advances. This makes Australia one of the best places in the world, if not the best place in the world, for undertaking research in plant science. ❞ AGRICULTURE PROFESSOR ELIZABETH BLACKBURN OCCUPATION Scientist BEST KNOWN FOR 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine Professor Elizabeth Blackburn pioneered the study of telomeres, caps that protect chromosomes in cells, and discovered telomerase, an enzyme that does the protecting. The San Francisco- based professor won the 2009 Nobel Prize for medicine alongside US collaborators. The Swedish Academy of Sciences noted that her discoveries "added a new dimension to stimulate the development of potential new therapies." ❝ I think you need time to daydream, to let your imagination take you. Just do that some of the time, because I've noticed [that] among the creative, successful scientists who've really advanced things, that was a part of their life. ❞ ••• PROFESSOR IAN FRAZER OCCUPATION Clinical immunologist BEST KNOWN FOR Co-creator of the cervical cancer vaccine Professor Ian Frazer has played a major role in reducing the incidence of cervical cancer. Along with his colleague, the late Dr Jian Zhou, Frazer developed a technology for the production of human papilloma virus-like particles which enabled the development of cervical cancer vaccines, now sold globally. That breakthrough led Frazer to be named Australian of the Year in 2006. ❝ Australia is good for science because both the community and government understand and appreciate the benefits of scientific research. ❞ ••• Professor Elizabeth Blackburn Aaron Francis/Newspix