The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has named Leonie van ‘t Hag as the winner of the Australian Synchrotron Stephen Wilkins Medal for 2017. The honour is bestowed upon the best and brightest PhD graduate studying at an Australian or a New Zealand University who has produced an outstanding thesis in the past two years.
The work must be carried out at one of ANSTO’s various facilities. These include the Australian Synchrotron, Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering and the National Deuteration Facility.
These state-of-the-art facilities are where van ‘t Hag carried out her PhD research, greatly improving the tricky techniques involved in crystallising proteins in order to demystify their structure. Her work will provide more information about membrane protein structure at the atomic and molecular levels, using X-ray crystallography. This has important implications and applications for drug design.
In winning this medal, van t’Hag joins the ranks of Stephen Dubsky, who invented the world’s first 4D lung X-ray machine. The medal itself is named after the renowned Australian physicist Stephen Wilkins, who developed new X-ray methods and instruments.