University Of Queensland PhD Researcher Recognised with Prestigious Award

8 Aug 2018

University of Queensland (UQ) PhD researcher Kevin Koo has won the inaugural Metrohm Australia-New Zealand Young Chemist of the Year award in recognition of his work in developing nanotechnology-based cancer diagnostics.

The prestigious award is another addition to Mr Koo’s already impressive candidature track record, boasting a remarkable 17 publications – including 3 journal cover articles, along with the creation of a technology that is being translated into the clinic.

Professor Matt Trau – Mr Koo’s PhD advisor at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology (AIBN) – says that Kevin’s performance is unparalleled.

“For me, in all my time at UQ, this now breaks a record – I have not before seen a PhD student achieve so much,” he said.

“Kevin is such a great mentor to other students, and this is a wonderful result that he so richly deserves.”

Mr Koo’s PhD research involves the development of innovative nano-scaled liquid biopsy techniques to non-invasively detect prostate cancer in urine samples, and his findings have already led to novel demonstrative innovations in the field of cancer diagnostics.

“I feel honored to be selected from a pool of researchers who are all doing exciting work in various fields of analytical chemistry, and thank Metrohm for appreciating my research work,” he said, adding that this achievement would not have been possible without the invaluable guidance of his research mentors along the way.

“Being shown appreciation for my research through such competitive awards provides me the encouragement and motivation to further my budding research career,” he said.

Looking forward, Koo intends to continue his cross-disciplinary journey in the fields of nanotechnology, cancer genetics, and clinical research in academia.

“Down the road, I also aim to foster industrial and medical collaborations to translate my research work into the clinic for eventual patient benefit,” he said. 

The Metrohm Young Chemist of the Year award celebrates the 75th anniversary of Metrohm - an internationally-active producer of precision instruments for chemical analysis - by rewarding the scientific contribution of young scientists around the world.

The award saw Mr Koo awarded a cash prize as he moves forward into the international round of the award.