The SDR Scientific Education Award

The SDR Scientific Education Award rewards outstanding achievement in education in biochemistry or molecular biology, especially innovation and creativity in education, with a view to fostering leadership in this important area of the Society’s objectives. The Award will enable the recipient to participate in an international conference with a significant focus on education, or to spend a period of time at another institution (in Australia or overseas) for the purposes of undertaking developments in education in biochemistry and molecular biology. The recipient will present a lecture within the Education Symposium at the annual ASBMB conference. Applicants must have been members of the Society for at least 2 years before the year in which the Award application is to be considered. The contribution to travel expenses is provided through the courtesy of SDR Scientific.

For a list of previous award winners 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 SDR Scientific Education 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.
- Nominations close 31st October 2024.  

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

The SDR Scientific Education Award Application

2024 Award Recipient

Julian Pakay
La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University

I completed my undergraduate studies and PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Western Australia. I then undertook postdoctoral research projects at the Dunn Human Nutrition Unit at the University of Cambridge, the University of Geneva and, returning to Australia, at the Bio21 Institute in Melbourne. While I was initially very much focused on a research career, I always enjoyed teaching, and was fortunate to be involved in undergraduate teaching in all of my appointments. It was this experience that allowed me to transition into a teaching focused role at La Trobe University in 2010.

Though I have taught at all year levels, my main role has been to coordinate and teach third year biochemistry. I enjoy mentoring these students and helping them transition into research and other careers. Much job satisfaction comes from seeing my students succeed and several of my former students now run their own research laboratories. Recently, I took over coordination of a large cohort first year biology subject where I enjoy introducing students into the discipline and I now have the privilege of seeing them develop over the course of their studies.

One of my main goals is to encourage my students to stop thinking of themselves as just ‘students’, but instead to think of themselves as young professionals with something to offer. When they do this, motivation becomes easier, and learning takes precedence over accreditation. To this end, I focus on teaching them skills and try wherever possible to set authentic ‘portfolio friendly’ assignments and competency-based learning goals. My students complete diverse projects, including genuine metagenomic analyses, news and views style presentations on current research and science fiction prototyping. I often end up learning a lot from them!

I combine both experience and a scholarly approach to inform my teaching and identify deficiencies in student understanding. One of my main research interests has been to develop strategies to improve teaching of quantitative literacy. This work has earned both internal and international recognition, but importantly has also informed curriculum development and led to authoring an open education textbook on quantitative literacy in biomedical science, Foundations of Biomedical Science. This, along with the support I have received from La Trobe University (in particular our Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry and the La Trobe eBureau), as well as the Council of Australian University Librarians has motivated me to continue consolidating my teaching expertise to develop more open education resources.

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