IAS Researchers were recognised for their outstanding efforts in the recent USP VC’s 2013 Research Awards. The Director, Professor Bill Aalbersberg was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Price for Research Impact and the selection according to the Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research, USP was based on the following criteria:
- The research undertaken under Prof Aalbersberg’s leadership is of the highest international quality spanning several fields of importance to the South Pacific region. It has been consistently recognized through the considerable external funding that has been secured from international agencies.
- The methodologies used are consistent with international best practice. This has enabled his laboratory to be internationally accredited. The research findings have been vital inputs to developing food and environmental health standard policies for the region.
- A highlight of Prof Aalbersberg scientific career has been his mentoring of research students and early career researchers. He has influenced the professional lives of many young people by supervising their Masters or PhD studies.
- The Societal impacts of his work have been profound and long lasting in the South Pacific region. The research findings from his Institute have been vital to establishing regional safe health and environmental management practices.
The VC’s Best Research Output award was awarded to IAS Drug Discovery scientists Klaus-D. Feussner, Kavita Ragini, Dr Katy Soapi, Professor Bill Aalbersberg and former IAS staff members Rohitesh Kumar & Dr Brad Carte. The six along with two external researchers had published a 38 page review paper titled Investigations of the Marine Flora and Fauna of the Fiji Islands and was published in: Natural Products Reports, an A*-ranked journal. The paper is a comprehensive review that covers both known and novel marine-derived natural products and their biological activities and also reviewed the findings of research on marine natural products chemistry from the Fiji Islands conducted over a period of 30 years.
The rigor in cataloguing Fiji’s marine natural products chemistry and the meticulous work by the eight researchers, six of whom are from USP, has directly led to the creation of a Centre for Drug Discovery and Conservation at USP in 2006. The impact of their work in the region is therefore noteworthy. The review is also an important aid for international researchers in the field of drug recovery from marine organisms.