Monash University scientists win prestigious Eureka Prizes

Two scientists from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) have been awarded a 2020 Australian Museum Eureka Prize, the nation’s top science award.

Professor Ben Boyd and his team - the Monash Pharmaceutical Milkshake Team – have been awarded the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.  Professor Mark Febbraio has been awarded the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.

The Eureka Prizes recognise excellence in research, leadership, innovation, science engagement and school science. They are presented annually in partnership with Australia’s top scientific institutions, universities and government organisations.

Director of MIPS, Professor Chris Porter said: “On behalf of MIPS, we congratulate Professor Boyd and Professor Febbraio on their well-deserved awards, acknowledging their hard work and dedication to their research.”

“The Eureka Prizes are the nation’s most prestigious science awards, representing one the highest honours in research and innovation in Australia and we’re very excited to see the work of Professor Boyd and Professor Febbraio recognised on the national stage.”

Professor Boyd said: “I’m grateful to the Eureka Prizes for awarding the team this prestigious award. We’re excited to see our work into oral drug delivery gaining acknowledgement in this way, it’s an honour.”

Professor Febbario said: “I’m incredibly grateful to the Eureka Prizes team for recognising the importance of our research here at MIPS. Diabetes impacts more than 1.5 million Australians and costs the health care system over $6 billion each year. We know that a drug for diabetes could be of great health significance for so many people and we hope to move towards clinical trials in the future.”

AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM EUREKA PRIZE RESEARCH SUMMARIES

Professor Ben Boyd and team – awarded the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology

Professor Boyd and team have been acknowledged for their innovative new synchrotron-based methods to study the interaction of milk and milk-like systems with drugs.

The team members based in the Drug Delivery Disposition and Dynamics theme at MIPS are Professor Boyd, Dr Malinda Salim, Dr Andrew Clulow and Ms Gisela Ramirez. Dr Adrian Hawley from the Australian Synchrotron is also an integral part of the team, providing the critical link to this major infrastructure that has been crucial to the advances made during the project.

The team is breaking new ground in understanding how milk and similar systems can be used to enhance oral drug delivery. Their work has created the development of novel formulations for progressing new safe drugs for children, including the first ever single dose cure for malaria.

Professor Mark Febbraio – awarded the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research

Professor Febbraio has been awarded the UNSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research which is awarded for outstanding curiosity-driven scientific research, recognising his expansive research into a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Professor Febbraio, Head of the Cellular and Molecular Metabolism Laboratory within the Drug Discovery Biology Theme at MIPS, has discovered a new compound (called IC7FC) which improves glucose metabolism and prevents weight gain. The compound could be harnessed as a drug therapy to treat diabetes, obesity and the loss of muscle mass.