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2019 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year

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Associate Professor Elizabeth New

Associate Professor New is recognised for pioneering the development of new chemical imaging tools to observe the chemistry of healthy and diseased cells.

Her research led to the development of different types of fluorescent sensors, making it possible to observe at the molecular level how cells cycle and change through events and over time. The imaging tools are revealing the critical role of copper in metabolic processes, new insights into cisplatin-based anti-cancer drugs and the study of oxidative stress in cells.

Read professional achievements and citations [180KB PDF] [245KB DOCX]
 

Transcript

[Music plays and an image appears of the Australian Government Coat of Arms and the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year badge and text appears: Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year, Associate Professor Elizabeth New, The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Celebrating 20 years]

[Image changes to show turrets on the university building and then the image changes to show a side and then facing view of Elizabeth walking along a path at the university]

Associate Professor Elizabeth New: I’m a Chemical Biologist at the University of Sydney

[Image changes to show Elizabeth talking to the camera]

…and my research interests are in developing chemical tools that allow us to see things in cells that we’ve never seen before.

[Images move through of a view through a glass window of Elizabeth looking into a microscope, a close-up shot of Elizabeth looking through the microscope, and Elizabeth looking at a computer]

When I was ten my parents showed me a drop of blood under the microscope and I remember being fascinated by seeing all of the different types of cells.

[Image changes to show Elizabeth talking to the camera]

I’m still amazed by the power of microscopy in allowing us to understand what’s going on inside a body.

[Images move through of Elizabeth and a colleague in a lab looking at a computer screen, a close-up view of their faces, and then the computer screen, and then Elizabeth swirling liquid in a beaker]

And now in my research, we’re able to develop imaging tools that allow us to look even deeper into the cell to see the very molecules

[Images flash through of Elizabeth adjusting a dial on some equipment, and then the beaker of liquid floating in water in a machine]

…that are responsible for health and that also cause disease.

[Images flash through to show Elizabeth talking, test tubes in a tray, Elizabeth looking at the tray, the tray lit up with fluorescent light, and Elizabeth picking up a test tube from the tray]

We develop small molecules that can enter a cell and they can light up or fluoresce in the presence of a chemical that causes disease.

[Image changes to show a profile view of Elizabeth talking to the camera]

So, an analogy I use is the children’s book “Where’s Wally?” where the real challenge is to find Wally from amongst all the other people in the picture.

[Image changes to show a facing view of Elizabeth talking to the camera]

Imagine how much easier it would be if we could give Wally a torch and turn off the lights.

[Images move through of Elizabeth holding up a test tube and looking at it with a torch in a darkened room and the test tube can be seen glowing with fluorescent light]

We’d very easily see where he is. And that’s exactly what we do in cells.

[Images move through of Elizabeth and a colleague looking at a computer screen, and then Elizabeth seated at a park table outside of a building working on a computer]

It’s really exciting now that our imaging tools are being used by researchers all over the world to investigate many different diseases and answer questions that we’ve not even thought of.

[Images move through of Elizabeth walking down a corridor towards the camera, and then Elizabeth and a colleague talking and looking at some equipment]

Our imaging tools are being used to uncover new ways that Parkinson’s disease can be treated.

[Image changes to show Elizabeth talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Elizabeth talking with various colleagues]

To me, this prize is really recognition of the hard work and the dedication of all those who share this research journey with me.

[Images move through to show Elizabeth and a colleague walking through the laboratory, Elizabeth and a colleague looking at a screen and talking, and then Elizabeth and a group of students at a table]

My two goals in the coming years are to find ways for more researchers around the world to use our imaging tools and to support the next generation of scientists.

[Music plays and the image changes to show Elizabeth standing outside the university and smiling at the camera]

[Image changes to show the Australian Government Coat of Arms and the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year badge and text appears: Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year, Associate Professor Elizabeth New, The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Celebrating 20 years]