Microalgae scholar invited to national FameLab final

April 30, 2015

Dr Navid MoheimaniMicroalgae researcher Dr Navid Moheimani will be taking part in the national FameLab final after judges invited him back to the competition.

Dr Moheimani, who is the director of Murdoch’s Algae Research and Development Centre at the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, took part in the WA FameLab heat in Fremantle a few weeks ago and lost out to WA Museum spider researcher Dr Amber Beavis.

But having reviewed Dr Moheimani’s presentation about the process of repetitively milking microalgae to cost effectively produce biofuel on video, the judges decided his three minute performance was worthy of a spot in the final, which will take place at the WA Maritime Museum in May.

“I’m thrilled by their decision and very excited about this opportunity,” said Dr Moheimani. “I’m looking forward to representing Murdoch University to the best of my ability.

“I’ll be presenting on a different topic in the final but it will still be algae-related. We have a number of different, exciting research projects on the go at the centre. I will most likely be presenting about our project on the sustainable conversion of light to biomass and electricity. This is a project that I have been developing with my colleague from the School of Engineering and Information Technology – Dr David Parlevliet.

“Before the heat, myself and the other contenders attended a workshop on science communication and making presentations to the general public. I learnt a lot from this but there wasn’t a lot of time to integrate all the suggestions into my presentation in the evening.

“This gives me the opportunity to modify and practice my presentation style some more. Mastering this sort of thing takes a lot of practice.”

If successful at the national final, Dr Moheimani will take his presentation to the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK in June.

“Of course I present on a regular basis to students and fellow scientists at conferences, but I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said.

“We aren’t allowed to use power points but I think my passion for the research comes through.”

He was judged by a panel which consisted of Professor Ian Small, WA Scientist of the Year, former WA Chief Scientist and Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Professor of Science Lyn Beazley and Kirsten Freeman from the British Council.

The national final takes place on Wednesday, May 13, and will be preceded by two days of intensive presentation and media training for all 12 finalists.

The event will be hosted by science journalist Robyn Williams from The Science Show on Radio National and ABC TV. The judges will be Helen O’Neil from the British Council Australia, Gillian O’Shaughnessy from ABC Perth and Professor Ryan Lister from UWA, the 2014 Life Scientist of the Year. The event is already a sell out.

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