Each year the School of Biological Sciences recognises our outstanding Postdoctoral researchers through presentation of the following prize.
The Mike Cullen Research Fellow Award ($5,000)
The Mike Cullen Research Fellow Award
The Mike Cullen Research Fellow Award recognises the very best postdoctoral work happening within our school. It is awarded to the applicant who is judged to have published the best paper during the course of the previous year, based on the scientific merit of the paper, contribution of the applicant to the paper, and the contribution that the paper makes to the field. The award is aimed at improving the capacity of postdoctoral researchers within the School of Biological Sciences to travel within Australia or internationally for the purposes of furthering their research networks and opportunities.
It’s a very special prize, named in honour of Mike Cullen, a former professor in our school, who joined in 1976, and retired in 1992, remaining as an adjunct until his death in 2001.
Mike was a formative figure in the development of the fields of ornithology and ethology. He worked at the Edward Grey Institute at Oxford University, when it was headed by David Lack, conducted his PhD with one of the founders of ethology, and Nobel Prize Winner, Niko Tinbergen. Mike’s quantitative and mathematical skills were exceptional, and Niko is on record as saying that he learnt more from Mike during their time together, than vice versa.
Mike was particularly well known for this contribution to the development of early career researchers. He is regarded as someone who always put the interests of others, and the development of the field, before his own interests throughout his career. Although he hardly ever accepted coauthorships on publications, the acknowledgement sections of many key papers published between the 1950s and 80s reveal his deep influence on the development of the field. We are incredibly fortunate to have been able to recruit Mike to Monash, where a whole generation of Australian biologists benefitted immensely under his training.
2020 - Dr Helena Baird, "Springtail phylogeography highlights biosecurity risks of repeated invasions and intraregional transfers among remote islands", published in Evolutionary Applications
2019 - Dr Tamar Sztal, "Genetic compensation triggered by actin mutation prevents the muscle damage caused by loss of actin protein", published in PLOS Genetics.
2018 - Dr Sridevi Sureshkumar, "RNA-dependent epigenetic silencing directs transcriptional down regulation caused by intronic repeat expansions", published in Cell.
2017 - Dr Giulia Ghedini, "Does energy flux predict density-dependence? An empirical field test", published in Ecology.
2016 - Dr Tamar Sztal, "Zebrafish models for nemaline myopathy reveal a spectrum of nemaline bodies contributing to reduced muscle function” published in Acta Neuropathologica.
2015 - Dr Belinda van Heerwaarden, "Is adaptation to climate change really constrained in niche specialists?", published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.