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30 Nov 2022

CSL Florey Next Generation Award shortlist recognises a rising star in the field of cellular genomics

An early career researcher at the Garvan Institute has been selected by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science as one of three finalists for a prestigious biennial award.

Jose Alquicira Hernandez

Research Assistant Dr José Alquicira Hernández from the Powell Lab has been announced as one of three finalists for the 2022 CSL Florey Next Generation Award, receiving a $2500 prize.

The overall winner and two runners-up were announced yesterday the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes annual dinner in the Great Hall at Parliament House, Canberra.

“We’re very proud of Dr Alquicira Hernández’s achievement in being a finalist for this prestigious award. It’s well deserved for the talent and hard work he showed throughout his PhD,” says Professor Joseph Powell, head of the Powell Laboratory at Garvan and UNSW.

The award is conferred every two years to recognise a current PhD candidate who has demonstrated outstanding capability, creativity and potential in the biomedical sciences and/or health and medical research. It was established in 2018 as an initiative of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science, supported by CSL, to encourage the field’s rising stars.

Dr Alquicira Hernández’s research seeks to characterise how genetic factors affect pathological cell states and their role in autoimmunity, to ultimately improve the treatment of autoimmune conditions.

Autoimmune disorders represent a considerable burden for the healthcare system, affecting about 5% of Australians. While genetic factors are the most significant contributors to autoimmune disease risk, their effects on individual immune cells have yet to be established.

During his PhD, he developed machine learning methods to improve cell-type classification from single-cell RNA-sequencing data, using supervised and unsupervised approaches.

Dr Alquicira Hernández is one of the scientific leaders of the single-cell eQTL consortium, an international collaboration to characterise and map the effect of genetic variation in gene expression in specific immune cell types. The resource helps identify new targeted treatments for autoimmune diseases.

The overall winner for 2022 was Chloe Yap of the Mater Research Institute and the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland. Jack Chan of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre was the other finalist.

Find out more about the CSL Florey Next Generation Award.