It is a red-letter day for the University of Wollongong, with three UOW researchers named Eureka Prize finalists.
The annual Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are Australia's most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement, and school science.
UOW Honorary Fellow Dr Dana Bergstrom, from the Australian Antarctic Division, has also been named as a Eureka Prize finalist for leadership in innovation and science.
Being named a finalist is a 'big honour' for Professor Yerbury AM, a molecular biologist at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) at UOW..
Professor Yerbury is well known for his research on Motor Neuron Disease (MND), with a particular emphasis on biochemical processes such as protein misfolding and protein aggregation.
"Being selected as a finalist in the Eureka Prize is an honour that I believe is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of all the members of the laboratory over the past decade," Prof Yerbury said.
"There is still no effective treatment for MND, so research is critical."
Professor Yerbury's research is motivated by personal experience, with himself and many family members having been diagnosed with MND.
"I am delighted that our research is being recognised by such a prestigious award, and I hope it will help create more awareness among the people who are either affected by this disease or are researching on it," he said.
Associate Professor Owen Price added the Eureka Prize acknowledgement highlighted the important work carried out by the NSW Bushfire Hub he leads.
"The impacts of the 2019-20 unprecedented bushfire were devastating and caused irreparable damage to life and property," Professor Price said.
"Every member of the team at the Hub has worked extremely hard to analyse the causes of the bushfire and provide recommendations that were adopted by the NSW Bushfire Inquiry.
"We are delighted that our work has been recognised for the Eureka Prize and the role the Hub has played in making key recommendations to the Bushfire Inquiry."
Senior Professor Robinson was ecstatic Eureka Prize judges appreciated her research on understanding the impacts of climate change on Antarctic ecosystems, and informing better environmental protection through ground-breaking and interdisciplinary research methods.
She leads the 'Securing Antarctica's Environmental Future (SAEF)' program at UOW, a research program delivering interdisciplinary science to forecast environmental changes across the Antarctic region.
"I am delighted to be the finalist for the Eureka Prize and that our work on addressing climate change and its impacts on society and biodiversity is being recognised globally," Professor Robinson said.
"I believe that everyone should have equal learning opportunities and a chance to be curious so they can grow and progress in life and leadership, mentoring plays an important role in nurturing talent and providing opportunities for this."
This year's winners will be announced at an award ceremony on October 7.