Marine biology lecturer honoured
A SOUTHERN Cross University lecturer has been awarded the prestigious Dorothy Hill Award for her work in the area of marine biology and ecology.
Dr Kirsten Benkendorff was last week announced as the winner of the award, which recognises female researchers, under the age of 40, in the field of marine sciences.
Dr Benkendorff said it was a great privilege to be chosen for the award which was set up to honour the contributions of Professor Dorothy Hill to Australian science and her work in opening up tertiary science education to women.
“Many people outside of the science world haven’t heard of Dorothy Hill, but in fact she is such a massive inspiration for everyone in marine science and in particular for female marine scientists,” Dr Benkendorff said.
“She had a fantastic career and made some great achievements at a time when it wasn’t easy for women to get ahead in science.
“So from a personal perspective it’s a great privilege and the fact that the award is recognised by the Australian Academy of Science makes it an even greater honour.”
Dr Benkendorff has spent more than a decade researching the bio-resource value of molluscs such as snails, oysters and octopus, and has made a contribution toward knowledge on how marine molluscs can be used as indicators for environmental health and to predict the effects of climate change.
Some of her most recent research has included investigating the development of marine molluscs for human medicine and has resulted in the identification of a promising anti-cancer agent, which is currently undergoing pre-clinical trials.