Latest in innovation showcased at UWA IQ Awards

An invention to monitor leukaemia cells in the blood, a medical entrepreneur who is developing better medicines with fewer side-effects and an innovative app to help high school students develop new skills required for tomorrow's workplace have all been winners at UWA's popular IQ Awards.

The IQ (Innovation Quarter) Awards celebrate UWA researchers, staff and students who are developing cutting-edge solutions and inventing new technologies to some of the world’s toughest challenges.

Professor Wendy Erber and her team from UWA’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences won the Research and Enterprise Award for developing an invention, Immuno-flowFISH, that enables the chromosomes and the whole leukaemia cell to be seen using a microscope built into the instrument.

More than 20,000 cells can be studied in the test, a vast improvement from current methods which only assess a few hundred cells and are much slower.

The breakthrough will significantly improve the ability to identify genetic changes in cancer cells that will impact treatment.

PhD student Henry Hui, a member of Professor Erber's winning team, described the award as a validation for the group and their lab.

Innovation is about risk taking and never knowing where you will end up – but it is truly satisfying when you have those eureka moments. I think the best thing is knowing how many people we will be able to help through our research.

Brianna Throssell cuts a swathe through the pool.
IQ Award Winners: Student Start-up of the Year Award Conor Mclaughlin, Research Innovation and Enterprise Award team member Dr Kathy Fuller, People’s Choice Student Award Kishaini Baskararao, Research Innovation and Enterprise Award team members Professor Wendy Erber and Henry Hui and UWA Innovation Champion Associate Professor Kevin Pfleger

Associate Professor Kevin Pfleger, a researcher in Health and Medical Sciences at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, won the Innovation Champion Award for his work developing medicines and treatments including combination therapy for chronic kidney disease and strengthening links between medical research and its application in clinics.

Data Science student Conor Mclaughlin won the Students Startup of the Year Awards for his Futuristic: Skills of the Future web app designed to help high school students develop critical skills and capabilities for the future workforce.

Taking into account that most Gen Z students prefer learning through visual material, Conor and his team developed ten online modules that teach the ten critical skills for the future. The skills include Social Media Branding, Cross Cultural Understanding and Emotional Intelligence.

“Winning this is fantastic – we’ve had a lot of success with our workshops after just 15 months," Conor says.

Our award will enable us to impact more students outside of the metropolitan area. I joined Bloom in 2017 – my experience with them has been amazing, they helped guide us through the start-up process which has led to this exciting success.

The winner of the People's Choice Student Startup of the Year was medical science student Kishaini Baskararao for her education program for rural students in diadvantaged areas across the globe. 

Our project is about empowering disadvantaged students from rural areas.

"I was inspired to help because my dad was born in a rural Malaysian town but he was lucky to get a scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and this changed his life forever, he was able to move away from his farming community and  has passed his passion for education on to his family – including me. Now we want to help children all over the world.” 

Brianna Throssell cuts a swathe through the pool.
Enjoying the evening (from l-r) Manager IQ Jo Hawkins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Community and Engagement) Professor Kent Anderson, Associate Director IQ Rob Shannon and Innovation and UWA Industry Engagement Director Mark Stickells.

Brianna Throssell cuts a swathe through the pool.
The winners were announced at a ceremony held at the new IQX headquarters in the historic Nedlands Masonic Hall.

The more information on innovation at UWA go to:


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