Student Prizes

School of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Student Prizes

Each year the School of Biological Sciences recognises our outstanding undergraduate students through presentation of the following prizes.

1st Year Biology Prize (Professor James Warren – Distinguished Leader)
Awarded to the student with the highest combined aggregate score for BIO1011 and BIO1042.

Professor Jim (James) Warren is remembered as a celebrated and renowned leader of the School of Biological Sciences. Jim took up a lectureship in the Department of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy (now the School of Biological Sciences) in 1962. His passion for evolutionary biology led to Monash becoming the first University in Australia to actively research vertebrate palaeontology. In 1968 Jim was appointed as Professor and Head of Department. Over his many years as a teacher Jim had a particularly close association with first year Biology. His long-term position of Department Head came to an end in 1994 when he became Dean of the Faculty of Science (1994-1996), and the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Monash University Malaysia. Upon retirement in 2000 Jim was appointed Emeritus Professor of Biology.


2nd Year Biology Prize (Professor Gordon Sanson – Innovator)
Awarded to the student with the highest combined aggregate score for BIO2011, BIO2040, BIO2231 and BIO2242.

A dynamic and vibrant presence at Monash University since the mid-70’s, Professor Gordon Sanson has a long association with the School of Biological Sciences. After completing his PhD under the guidance of Professor Jim Warren, Gordon was appointed to an academic position where he combined his love of vertebrate evolutionary biology with an infectious enthusiasm for teaching. Thousands of students have been inspired by Gordon’s teaching. As Head of School from 2003 to 2008, Gordon was instrumental in developing award-winning teaching spaces in the school, including the Biology and Genetics teaching laboratories.  In 2009 he was appointed as the founding Director of the e-Education Centre at Monash, where he spent several years using his skills as an educator, leader and innovator to improve the student experience at Monash University.  The 2nd year Biology prize is named in recognition of Gordon’s outstanding contributions to education.


3rd Year Biology Prize (Professor Alan (Jock) Marshall - Pioneer)
Awarded to the student with the highest combined aggregate score for BIO3011, BIO3070, BIO3111 and BIO3990.

Well-known for pushing the boundaries, ornithologist Alan (Jock) Marshall was a driving force in the early days of Monash University. Jock was appointed foundation Chair of Biology in 1960 and shortly after he became Dean of the Faculty of Science in 1961. Jock accepted the position of Department Head of Zoology and Comparative Physiology in 1962. He is remembered for his fighting spirit as Department Head.  Jock’s push to acquire the acreage of natural bushland that would become the Jock Marshall Reserve has allowed generations of biology students to practice field research on campus and exemplifies his successes at Monash.  Jock Marshall made a significant contribution to the establishment of science and biology at Monash and has left a long lasting legacy.


2nd Year Genetics Prize (Professor David Smyth – Passionate geneticist)
Awarded to the student with the highest combined aggregate score for GEN2041 and GEN2052.

A key figure first in the Department of Genetics and later the School of Biological Sciences and since 1974, David Smyth’s research has featured on the world stage. Appointed lecturer in Genetics in 1974, Professor David Smyth is an internationally recognised scientist who has made important contributions to the area of genetic and molecular basis of reproductive development in plants. David has been a geneticist ever since he was inspired by undergraduate lecturers at the University of Adelaide in the 1960s. From that point, on David’s interest in genetics has been strong and unwavering. David’s achievements were recognised in 2004 when he was elected to the Australian Academy of Science. David has also been a dedicated teacher of genetics and played a major role in the development of the genetics units currently taught at Monash. During his time as a lecturer at Monash University, David was a driving force behind the incorporation of new model systems into hands on practical exercises for undergraduate students.  David retired and was appointed Emeritus Professor of Biology in 2011, but continues his research at Monash to this day.


Heron Island Prize (Dr Duncan McEvoy – Adventurer)
Awarded for:
*Ingenuity in designing and conducting a research project
*Contribution within the project group, including preparation, collection, collation and presentation of data
*Interacting with other project groups
*Overall positive contributions, both scientific and social, that enhance the Heron Island experience for all participants

An enterprising and energetic zoologist, Dr Duncan McEvoy brought to Monash his enthusiasm and wealth of new ideas to improve the teaching of biology in Australia. Dr Duncan McEvoy joined Monash University from the University of Sydney in 1983. As a senior tutor in Zoology, Duncan initiated an intrepid new educational initiative. In 1984, he took a small group of biology students on a fieldtrip to the Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef. By instigating and leading the Heron Island trip Duncan allowed biology students to have an invaluable taste of research in the field – an important aspect of biological science. The Heron Island field camp continues to this day, and the Heron Island Prize is awarded to the best overall contribution to the field camp by a student and is named in recognition of Duncan’s original legacy in establishing such a fantastic student experience.


3rd year Genetics Prize (Professor Bruce Holloway – Collaborator)
Awarded to the student with the highest combined aggregate score for GEN3030, GEN3040, GEN3051 and GEN3062.

As Foundation Chair of Genetics (1968-1993), Professor Bruce Holloway played an integral role in establishing genetics research at Monash University. After establishing the Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology in 1968, Professor Holloway continued to build the reputation of genetics at Monash by encouraging international collaborations and continuing with his own research into the genetics of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  His willingness to share his Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain throughout the scientific community led to it being the most widely used Pseudomonas strain in research today and the first Pseudomonas strain whose genome was sequenced. After a long term he retired from the position of Department head in 1993 and was appointed as Emeritus Professor in 1994.