For their work in surface chemistry, HIV/AIDS and memory disruption in dementia, three UNSW researchers have won four prestigious Royal Society of NSW Awards for 2016.

The Royal Society of NSW announced the winners of its six medals for 2016 via a statement on its website.

Scientia Professor Justin Gooding, Australian Laureate Fellow and Deputy Head of UNSW’s School of Chemistry, won the Walter Burfitt Prize, and the Archibald Liversidge Medal for 2016. 

Professor Gooding is a leading authority in the field of surface chemistry, particularly surface modification of electrodes, mostly focused on bioelectronics interfaces. His pioneering achievements include understanding electron transfer at surfaces, making silicon compatible with aqueous solutions, advanced electrochemical techniques, and single nanoparticle sensors.

Professor Gooding, Scientia Professor and founding co-director of The Australian Centre for NanoMedicine.

The Walter Burfitt Prize is awarded every three years for research in pure or applied science that is deemed to be of the highest scientific merit.

The Archibald Liversidge Medal is awarded at intervals of two years for the purpose of encouragement of research in Chemistry.The prize is awarded in conjunction with the Royal Australia Chemical Institute. It was established under the terms of a bequest to the Society by Professor Archibald Liversidge.

Scientia Professor David Cooper, the director of UNSW’s Kirby Institute, is the winner of the James Cook Medal. Professor Cooper's research centres on understanding and treating HIV/AIDS. He introduced one of the first tests for HIV infection to Australia and has made a number of contributions and discoveries in areas such as antiretroviral therapy, complications of HIV treatment, and HIV pathogenesis. His current focus is on dose optimisation in immunotherapy and vaccination.

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Professor David Cooper

The James Cook Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to both science and human welfare in and for the Southern Hemisphere.

Dr Muireann Irish, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at UNSW, and a Senior Research Officer at Neuroscience Research Australia, won the Edgeworth David Medal for 2016.

Considered to be at the forefront of cognitive neuroscience, Dr Irish's research focuses on memory disruption in dementia. Her research contributions include, establishing the impairment of planning in dementia patients and differentiation among dementia syndromes at initial presentation. Dr Irsh was the winner of a prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship in 2015 and was also named a joint winner of this year’s NSW Premier’s Award for Early Career Researcher of the Year.

The Edgeworth David Medal is awarded each year for distinguished research by a young scientist under the age of 35 years for work done mainly in Australia or for contributing to the advancement of Australian science.