Awards celebrate Scion talent

Back row L-R: Maxime Barbier, Karl Molving, Rob Whitton, Dr Marie-Joo Le Guen and Sean Taylor.
Front row L-R: Dr Yi Chen and Dr Stefan Hill.

L-R: Dr Lloyd Donaldson, Dr Qiliang Fu, Dr Rebecca McDougal.

Wood nanotechnology, seaweed nanocellulose products and an internationally recognised microscopist were among top successes celebrated by Scion at the 2021 Science New Zealand Awards.

All seven Crown Research Institutes and Callaghan Innovation were recognised at the awards. Scion’s awardee for Lifetime Achievement was Doctor of Science, Lloyd Donaldson for his microscopist work, Scion’s awardee for Early Career Researcher was Dr Qiliang Fu – leading scientist in wood nanotechnology and functionalisation, and our awardee for the Team Award was the AgriSea NZ and Scion collaboration.

Scion Forests and Biotechnology scientist Dr Lloyd Donaldson was named one of the eight Lifetime Achievement Award recipients for his influence as an internationally recognised microscopist specialising in plant anatomy and ultrastructure for the last 40 years at Scion. He has pioneered techniques in confocal fluorescence imaging of wood and biomaterials, with his methods forming part of researcher toolboxes globally.

An Early Career Researcher Award was made to scientist Dr Qiliang Fu who specialises in wood nanotechnologies, including various chemical treatment and functional approaches, applied to tailor and modify the nanostructure of bulk wood. Dr Fu has contributed strongly to developing this field globally.

Scion’s awardee for the Team Award was the Scion and AgriSea NZ collaboration team which together are accelerating new nanocellulose-based business opportunities.

Scion’s wood pulping expertise and AgriSea’s 25 years in seaweed processing has resulted in a novel seaweed gel product.

The team developed a method to produce nanocellulose from AgriSea’s seaweed waste without disrupting current products and processing. Their innovative approach enables the extraction, isolation and manufacture of high-value nanocellulose hydrogel and nanocellulose. Applications for these materials include performance biocomposites, biomedical engineering applications, wound care, cosmetics and drug delivery.

The Scion team members are Dr Stefan Hill, Sean Taylor, Dr Yi Chen, Rob Whitton, Dr Marie-Joo Le Guen, working with AgriSea team members: Clare and Tane Bradley and Dr Melodie Lindsay.

A commitment to forest pathology and an ability to communicate complex science in a compelling manner saw Dr Rebecca McDougal named a finalist in the Bioprotection Aotearoa Science category at the NZ Biosecurity Awards. The awards, run by Biosecurity New Zealand, acknowledge individuals and organisations who work to safeguard the biosecurity of Aotearoa.

Rebecca was one of 24 finalists selected from a record 90 entries. She was nominated by the Forest Owners Association and the Forest Industry’s Biosecurity Committee for her outstanding contribution to the protection of the plantation forest estate as well as her ability to communicate complex science matters to forest owners.

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