Indian Australian scientist wins Queensland's key primary industries sector award

Written by: Ani
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Brisbane/New Delhi, Jan.16 (ANI): An Indian Australian woman biotechnologist has won the coveted Women In Technology (WIT) University of Queensland (UQ) Biotech Researcher award for her contributions to the primary industries sector.

Dr. Neena Mitter, one of Queensland's leading biotechnologists and currently the principal biotechnologist of the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI and F) and a Senior Research Fellow at QAAFI, University of Queensland, won the award recently for her involvement in innovative projects, including the development of a needle-free vaccine for livestock and disease-resistant horticultural crops.

"It was a privilege to receive the award among a pool of other talented industry innovators. This award reaffirms the contribution DPI and F scientists are making to the agricultural industry. It also highlights the achievements of women in working towards positive action for society at large through technology," Dr. Mitter said.

Dr. Mitter said she was thrilled that her work had been recognised at the annual awards' ceremony in Brisbane.

"I feel the award is a result of my experiences across both plant and animal science and my training and work experience in traditional, as well as modern revolutionary, technologies," she said.

Dr. Mitter has been a biotechnologist and molecular biologist for 15 years. After completing her post-doctoral research at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, she joined the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi as a scientist.

Her contribution to the development of a disease-free strain of chickpeas earned her the prestigious Young Scientist Award from the then Prime Minister of India.

Moving to Australia seven years ago, Dr. Mitter has played an active role in the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Queensland and India for the scientific collaboration in agricultural biotechnology.

She said she couldn't imagine what she'd be doing if she wasn't in the field of science and technology.

"Everyday holds a promise of a new discovery, a new insight and the wonderful feeling that the discovery or idea may make the world a better place and deliver something meaningful for the community," Dr. Mitter said.

The WIT awards are tailored to recognise success and achievement in a range of fields covering both the information and communication technology and biotech industries.

Apart from the WIT award, Dr. Mitter has numerous other awards to her credit. They include the following:

. Queensland International Fellowship, biotechnology category winner (2009), 'Artificial microRNAs for virus resistance' in collaboration with Washington State University and India.

Appreciation letter from Tim Mulherin, the Honourable Minster for Primary Industries and Fisheries, for contribution towards innovative projects and role in the recent signing of the memorandum of understanding between Queensland and India in agricultural biotechnology.

The Women in Technology, University of Queensland Biotech Researcher award, 2008, for work contributing to the primary industries sector.

Young Scientist Award (1997) by the Prime Minister of India in recognition of significant applied research carried out on breeding for disease resistance against Botrytis cinerea presented at Indian Science Congress.

Prof. M.J.Narasimhan Award by Indian Phytopathological Society for the work done on variability among isolates of Botrytis cinerea.

Deans Recommendation for excellence in Teaching: Post graduate teaching of courses on molecular plant pathology and genetics of host pathogen interactions at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi, India

Gold medal for significant research: Master and PhD research at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi, India

INLAKS Scholarship for postdoctoral research in UK (1989).

She has been invited as speaker at various national and international conferences and in the last five years has eleven publications and 27 presentations in national and international journals to her credit.

"As a plant biotechnologist and molecular biologist for the last 15 years, I have built and led multicultural and multidisciplinary teams, managed key relationships with internal and external stakeholders, forged strategic global alliances, secured funding for the projects, mentored students and staff, and published research in peer reviewed journal of repute," Dr. Mitter said.

"At present I am developing a cutting edge platform technology for using artificial micro-RNAs for virus resistance in collaboration with Washington State University," she added.

Dr Neena Mitter is a terrific example of a woman who has been able to balance a career, a family and extensive contributions to both the scientific and broader communities, including as an advocate for human rights.

Dr. Mitter said that she is ready to take on new challenges, and one of these, is to become more involved as a leader and mentor for other women with similar career aspirations.

"I take pride in being a woman, mother of two young children and an active researcher and manager with significant contributions in the field of biotechnology," she said. (ANI)

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