SAHMRI stars named 2022 South Australian Science Excellence and Innovation finalists

Congratulations to SAHMRI Deputy Director and Women and Kids Theme Leader, Professor Maria Makrides, for being selected as one of three finalists contending South Australia’s coveted Scientist of the Year award.

Prof Makrides has been chosen for her work leading a multidisciplinary team of more than 70 staff and students that is at the forefront of mother-infant nutrition research in the world.

My vision is to give children the best start in life by embedding evidence-based nutrition approaches to prevent babies being born too early and achieve better childhood outcomes,” Prof Makrides said.

Prof Makrides has led a multitude of clinical studies that have improved the composition of infant foods, seen the inclusion of allergenic foods such as eggs and peanuts to the infant feeding guidelines and established specific nutrient recommendations for pregnancy and infancy worldwide. Most recently, Prof Makrides’ team has coordinated the world’s first omega-3 screening program for pregnant women, aimed at reducing the risk of preterm birth.

The SAHMRI community also extends its congratulations to Matthew Iasiello, Joep van Agteren, Monique Newberry and the wider team at Be Well Co.

be well lab

The Be Well Lab, a collaboration of SAHMRI researchers and Flinders University colleagues that work on the research underpinning Be Well Co’s services, have been chosen as a finalist for the Innovator of the Year award.

With levels of mental illness and distress continuing to rise in Australia, the Be Well Lab has harnessed research to test and implement innovative and sustainable solutions to challenge this problem.

The Be Well Plan and Be Well Tracker and have led to significant, meaningful improvements in mental health and distress, with an estimated social value of $22.5 million, among the general community and vulnerable populations. The flexibility of these solutions is unique, as individuals can personalise them to their own needs, interests and circumstances.

“The truly innovative aspect is the combination of our research collaboration with a commercial entity, allowing us to have wider reach, which in turn continually fuels more research,” Mr van Agteren said.

The Be Well Lab’s projects are commercialised by SAHMRI’s Be Well Co, leading to more than 20,000 people accessing the Be Well Tracker, more than 5,000 completing the Be Well Plan and more than 40 facilitators having been accredited nationwide.

To view all the 2022 South Australian Science Excellence and Innovation finalists:

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