The Eppendorf Edman ECR Award

The Eppendorf Edman ECR Award is awarded to an ASBMB member with no more than 7 years postdoctoral experience (or equivalent taking any career disruption into account), in recognition of their outstanding research work. The Award provides funds to assist the recipient to attend an overseas conference in a field associated with biochemistry or molecular biology or to visit briefly a research laboratory in Australia or elsewhere to access specialised equipment or to learn new research techniques. Applicants must have been members of the Society for at least 2 years before the year in which the application is to be considered, or must have taken out a 3 year membership in the year of the application. The contribution to travel expenses is provided through the courtesy of Eppendorf South Pacific.

To view a list of previous awardees please click here.

Application Information
- All applicants should have been members of the ASBMB for a minimum of 2 years
- All applications should include at least 2 supporters who should have been members of the ASBMB for a minimum of 2 years
- Applicants should prepare an application document to include all information detailed on the Eppendorf Edman ECR Award Application Template.  This document should be saved as a single PDF file ready to be uploaded as part of the online application form.  
- Applicants should have a letter of reference for each of your 2 supporters saved ready to be uploaded as part of the online application form.

When you are ready to begin your application, please click the button below.

The Eppendorf Edman ECR Award Application

2024 Award Recipient

Praveena Thirunavukkarasu
Monash University

Dr Praveena Thirunavukkarasu gained her PhD in 2017 in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Monash University. Her research was on elucidating the molecular mechanism of recognition of lipid-based antigens by a new class of Natural Killer T (NKT) cells in humans termed atypical NKT cells, and her key findings were published in a joint first-authored paper in Nature Communications (2016). She then joined the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute as a Research Fellow under the mentorship of Professor Jamie Rossjohn FRS to further explore the recognition mechanism of lipids produced in the human gut microbiota by NKT cells.

Dr Thirunavukkarasu’s ability to drive high-calibre research is evidenced by her ten original publications in highly reputed journals, including Nature, Science, Nature Communications and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Her ground-breaking joint first-authored work published in Nature (2021) unravelled the mechanism by which lipids produced by the gut microbe, Bacteroides fragilis, are presented by antigen-presenting cells and are recognised by NKT cells, thus shaping the host’s immune response. She has been a pivotal player of a collaborative team in the discovery of a novel T-cell lineage (γµ T cells) present in marsupials, which was recently published in Science (2021). The significance of her work has been highlighted by commentaries and also has attracted media attention, including featured articles in MedicalXpress, EurekAlert! and ScienceDaily.

Dr Thirunavukkarasu’s international standing in the field of structural immunology is evidenced by her publications and selection as a speaker at several national and international conferences. In recognition of her research excellence, she was awarded the prestigious Anders Early Career Researcher Award (Lorne Proteins, 2024). Dr Thirunavukkarasu was recently awarded an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) (2023–2025) to develop her research program on understanding the presentation of gut microbiota-produced novel lipid antigens and their subsequent recognition by NKT cells. Her vision is to reshape our understanding of T-cell immunity within the gut microbiome–NKT cell axis, using a combination of multidisciplinary approaches including protein chemistry, cellular immunology and structural biology.

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