Two out of five ain’t bad - UQ researchers share honours in ABC’s Top 5 science program

6 June 2018

Dr Nasim Amiralian and Dr Caitlin Curtis both win a two-week media residency at the ABC, working with some of Australia’s best science journalists.

The pair was selected from more than 150 applicants from universities and research institutes across the country.

Dr Amiralian emigrated from Iran to complete a PhD with UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and has since worked as a researcher at there.

She was responsible for the discovery of nanfibers from native spinifex grass, which can significantly improve the physical properties of latex.

The discovery could also revolutionise manufacturing, making ultra-thin and strong latex membranes for condoms and gloves, water filtration, reinforced cement and renewable carbon fibres.

She said she was excited to make the Top 5.

“I am passionate about science and believe that engaging with the public – in particular young Australians – to foster enthusiasm about STEM disciplines is part of being a scientist and essential to Australia’s research and innovation future.”

Dr Curtis is a geneticist interested in the emerging ethical, legal and social issues arising from new genomic technologies used in precision medicine and consumer genetic testing.

She works in the Centre for Policy Futures and with the Queensland Genomics Health Alliance and the Genomics in Society Initiative.

Dr Curtis said she was looking forward to her residency in July, ahead of National Science Week in August.

“I’m hoping to use my time at the ABC to learn how to communicate science more broadly – in a way that really reaches people,” she said

“I think it’s such an important thing right now for researchers to communicate science, so that people can have access to what’s happening – and for science to have a meaningful role in the conversation and the challenges that we face as a society.”

All five winners this year are women and Dr Curtis said that was good news for women in STEM.

“I think this is a fantastic opportunity to provide female role models in STEM – and hopefully this will encourage young women out there to think about getting involved in their own science pathways – which can take many different forms.”

Dr Amiralian agreed.

“This outcome shows that female scientists are getting more confidence to share their achievements with the public,” she said.

Contact: UQ Comunications, Kristen Johnston,, +61 7 33461633; Siobhan Remy,, +61 7 3346 3094.