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The crocodile bite that led to a pain relief gel – ATSE awards

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Weaving Traditional Knowledge with western science for a new approach to pain relief headlined the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering’s (ATSE) annual national Awards announced tonight.

The winning engineers and technologists were recognised for their work spanning climate change, mining, plastic waste, battery tech and food security among others.

Nyikina Mangala West Kimberley Elder John Watson and Professor Ronald Quinn from Griffith University were named as the inaugural recipients of the Traditional Knowledge Innovation Award.

Watson’s experience of losing a finger in a crocodile attack led him to the Mudjala mangrove tree’s bark for pain relief. The two identified active compounds in the bark and developed a treatment as a gel for athletes at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

Clunies Ross Technology Innovation Award recipient Dr James Tickner, revolutionised mineral exploration using x-ray technology. Dr Tickner, Chief Technology Officer of Chrysos Corporation Ltd, developed the PhotonAssay which can identify gold, silver, and other elements in rock samples.

Other awards included:

  • The David & Valerie Solomon Award went to Dr Natalie Morgan of Curtin University, a Lithium battery scientist and CSIRO
  • And the ICM Agrifood Award went to poultry nutritionist Dr Natalie Morgan of Curtin University who has improved chicken health and productivity.

ATSE President Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO FTSE said the winners’ innovation, drive, and impact were exemplars for the game-changing application of Australian research.

“The winners of the 2023 ATSE Awards are outstanding engineers, applied scientists, and leaders in technology – their shining example is an inspiration as we reflect on and celebrate the novel science and engineering endeavours that are bettering our world.”

Picture: Chrysos PhotonAssay

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