ATSE Award winner visits his old school

ATSE Award winner visits his old school

Students at STELR school, South Oakleigh College (SOC) in Victoria celebrated National Science Week early with a visit from ATSE Clunies Ross Award winner Dr Jim Aylward last week. Jim won the Clunies Ross Innovation Award for the discovery of a novel skin cancer treatment, Picato. Jim chose SOC for his presentation as it was his old school (of sorts). He attended Huntingdale High School which no longer exists as merged with Hundingdale Tech School and eventually became South Oakleigh College (SOC).

SOC Principal, Helen Koziaris looked out some Huntingdale High School memorabilia to show Jim and took him on a school tour before he talked to 300 students from years 8 and 9 as well as the senior science students.

The story behind the discovery is intriguing and includes a folkloric remedy; inspiration from his mother; being sacked from work and using his redundancy payout for research; and his dog Maxwell, who proved to be an excellent networker. Jim began the talk by holding up a garden weed and a box of Picato and asking the students if they wanted to know how to turn the weed into a billion dollars.

You can find out more about Jim’s work and the story of his discovery and its commercialisation on this video and podcast produced by ATSE.

You can also see a video about Jim’s visit to South Oakleigh College here.